Target to get a major overhaul as sales slump and customers go elsewhere

Target used to be one of the most successful retailers in Australia, and it was Kmart who was lagging behind. But

Target used to be one of the most successful retailers in Australia, and it was Kmart who was lagging behind. But now, it’s the other way around with Kmart soaring and Target losing out.

Customers have had restored hope in Kmart after CEO Guy Russo took over in 2008. Russo recently was appointed the CEO of Target as well, and now has the big task of restoring the 90-year-old+ brand to its former glory.

It might sound strange to have the same CEO for competing brands, but according to Wesfarmers, the unified approach is aimed at maximising and sharing opportunities.

Speaking at the ‘Fit for Business’ breakfast in Sydney yesterday, Russo said his initial approach to Target is to listen to customers and former chiefs.

“I’m not saying how it should or could be, but yes, I want Target to be the greatest retailer in Australia alongside its brother, Kmart,” he told attendees, reports CMO.

“I do love to win, and I’d like to look to have a $9 billion business … that has tripled the customers coming into its stores. But it’s time to listen first, not what to do yet.

“Before I jump in and drive the Target car, I want to open the bonnet and work out what the last three CEOs did. It’s a 90-year old company, and I owe it to Target to study its history, and what other CEOs have done.”

But can a better Target co-exist with Kmart? Russo admits it is a difficult task to juggle.

“There may not be a way … it may or may not work, it’s another piece to the puzzle. I haven’t figured that out either. I won’t debate if they are right or wrong, I welcome criticism.”

To begin Target’s next overhaul (you may remember the recent rebranding and new store fitouts), Russo said he may close stores and may swap Targets with Kmarts and vice versa, depending on location and need.

“We will look… to work out if there is anywhere we put one or two many Kmarts and Targets,” he said. “We’ll analyse that, and work out if we should close them. I’ll also look at if Target is better off as a Kmart and vice versa.”

“My wish would be that all 500 of our Kmart and Target stores stay, and with the right strategy for both businesses, we lift and add more customers to all of them,” he said.

Russo turned around Kmart from a less-than-appealing retailer to the top department store retailer in Australia with a huge profit in just a few years, and found the key was to stop selling a wide range of goods and focus on everyday low priced goods that weren’t outside of customers’ budgets.

Russo also said the key to success at Kmart and Target should be the customer. “You need to smile at customers… ask if they need help,” he said. “We are a self-service business… I want it to be grab and go…just help people fill those baskets up”.

So we want to know: how do you think Target could improve? Leave your feedback!



  1. How about from the top management down know what product knowledge and customer service is all about. They should be seen working on the floor and assisting customers and not spend all day in their “ivory towers”.

  2. Catherine Bowles  

    Definitely the new layout in Kmart & the very low prices of all products.
    Same needs to be done for Target.
    I love Target clothes and wouldn’t want to see these change.

    • Tricia  

      I am with you Catherine I to LOVE Target clothes.

  3. elizabeth Hartshorn  

    Target is definately overpriced in every department. As a comparison shoes in KMart are ten dollars in Target the are twenty five.

  4. Tony  

    We don’t have K-Mart in Sale, just Target

  5. annette  

    I find Target has become Kmart. Garments are thin & crease badly. Quality has gone just to keep same price.

    • Lesley King  

      Target clothing has become very boring. I used to buy constantly from Target but struggle to find anything I like now. On saying that the lingerie selection is still excellent especially the Lucy Loves but please bring back the vita von tuse ‘ von follies’ range.

  6. Sheila Howard  

    Everything is over price. I can never find what I’m looking for and where are the staff sick of looking round the store for assistance.

    • Bella  

      Talking from 7 years of experience you don’t see anyone on the floor because they spend time serving on registers due to being understaffed.
      Yet they are still expected to have a tidy department, stock put out and be available for customer service. Cloning would be a great solution.

  7. I think target need to improve its home products poor choice to pick from and review prices in comparison too Kmart never any staff to help on the floor in
    Target clearance lines are like being at a jumble sale would be better to mark them down to a price that you know the customer will pay rather double and triple handling of merchandise if it has to go get rid of it in one hit selling brand name clothing doesn’t impress me and is too expensive the rag trade is huge so less mark up for the company and better prices for the customers other than that I think it’s good to have target and Kmart as competition is good and healthy

  8. Jennifer McCutcheon  

    Management are over paid not at shop leave but the ones that do trips around from Melbourne and Sydney and they are rude to there staff that are making money for them this gives staff low self esteem. Who wants to work for someone that will not appreciate your work a smile and thank you at the end of the day. And not enough staff.

  9. I agree with a lot of people that there is never enough staff and so I give up try to shop in a lot of stores now and do most of my shopping online as you get a better price and the big one is variety, no matter where you go in any state it is the same old same old stuff, we have clothes in Brisbane and the rest of Qld that are OK for the southern states but are no good here. I think they have the same buyers for all states, and when you do find something good you can guarantee it will not be there again and they should stock more sizes in the most popular size.

  10. I find that Target styles and prices for the youngsters, teens and young adults are very stylish and fairly priced..
    For myself as a size 14, over 60 I find the styles and prices not to my liking, and so I will go to a smaller shop.
    For my more practical purchases I find K Mart much, more satisfactory….

  11. Gail  

    A leave target as it is the product is of good quality but Kmart quality is very poor I would not want to see target end up like Kmart with basics that do not last.

  12. Yvonne J  

    Target has increased its prices over time but quality isn’t any better. Far to much rubbish. To many labels. The target label was just fIne for the prices.
    They used to have wonderful home products, now they r boring n cheap quality n not a lot of variety. Used to love their home store but obviously didn’t work back then as they got rid of them. Don’t combine the two stores as Target is a bit more up market than KMart. Both have their own styles.

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