BREAKING NEWS: Kaufland Pulls The Plug On OZ, Distributors Set To Miss Out
Tipped as a major threat to Aldi as well as Coles and Woolworths, Kaufland the giant German retailer has pulled the plug on Australia.
The move is a blow to distributors banking on selling the German Company appliance and consumer electronics goods in the same way that they currently do with Aldi and Big W.
Kaufland, which is owned by the world’s fourth largest retailer, Schwarz Group, claimed that after careful consideration it had decided to undertake an orderly withdrawal from the Australian market to concentrate its business on its European core markets.
Currently the Company has 200 employees as well they own several sites that were destined to be Kaufland stores.
The Company had already acquired more than a dozen prime store sites in Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Queensland and were starting work on a $460 million 115,000 square metre distribution centre at Mickleham in suburban Melbourne.
The move comes as several retail groups shut up shop or get placed into administration in Australia.
Kaufland, sells mainly private label or house brand goods which would have been a boost for suppliers in Australia.
The AFR said that the first Kaufland stores were originally expected to open in 2019 but the launch date had been pushed back to 2020 or 2021. Analysts believed Kaufland could become Australia’s fourth largest food and grocery chain after Aldi in a short period of time.
Led by managing director Julia Kern, Kaufland had also poached senior executives from other retailers including former Woolworths, Metcash and Aldi
The future of Kaufland’ s existing Australian investments, which include almost 20 sites slated for stores and distribution centres, will be discussed with relevant parties in coming days.
A spokesman said the company would not appoint administrators but would undertake and orderly wind down of operations.
“This decision is about focusing business activities in Europe and is in no way a reflection of the efforts of our local employees or management, or the support Kaufland has received from the Australian business community or governments,” said Frank Schumann, acting chief executive of Kaufland International.
“This was not an easy decision for us. We always felt welcome in Australia. We would like to thank our employees and we apologise for the disruption this decision will cause.
“We would also like to thank our business partners, who offered us great support over the last few years. We would also like to thank the government for being very open-minded to our projects.”