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Kaufland Nails Coffin With MD Resignation

Discount German big-box retailer, Kaufland – which was tipped to follow the steps of ALDI in Australia – has officially seen the resignation of local Managing Director, Julia Kern, following its multimillion dollar decision to cancel its Aussie entry.

In January, Kaufland announced it would no longer open its Australian retail network, leaving over 200 staff redundant and a slew of disappointed suppliers.

Many local consumer electronics suppliers were banking on the German giant to boost earnings, and potentially etch a similar relationship like with ALDI Australia.

Mid-last year, reports broke that Kaufland had notched around $14 million in local staff costs, as it geared towards establishing several mega-sites across Australia.

In Europe, Kaufland is known for being a top seller of appliances, and renowned for big-box sites which offer ‘one stop’ shopping inclusive of food.

Kaufland’s cancelled Australian expansion was a relief to some, with local retailers bracing for the German conglomerate to unleash around a $459 million investment.

Last year’s accounts show Kaufland’s net loss jump from $4.8 million to $25.9 million versus a year ago, coinciding with its distribution and store expansion plans.

The company had etched local vendor relationships and was on track to open its first store around 2021, complemented with an over $250 million distribution centre in Melbourne’s outskirts.

Lodged ASIC documents reveal Ms Kern has resigned as a director of Kaufland Australia.

The company was known to have attracted several Australian rival retail executives (e.g. Coles, Metcash), reportedly including former Myer Chief Executive, Richard Umbers.

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