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Entrance to Kmart in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Kmart Australia is a discount department store chain, that operates in Australia (and New Zealandmarker trading as Kmart New Zealand). Wesfarmers (formerly the Coles Group) operates Kmart Australia Ltd under license from Hoffman Estates, Illinoismarker, United Statesmarker-based Sears Holdings Corporation (the parent of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck and Company).

There are 182 Kmart stores across Australia and New Zealandmarker, with 116 of the stores in Australia.

History

Kmart Australia Limited was born out of a joint venture between G.J Coles & Coy (Coles) and Kmart Corporation in the US.

In 1978 Coles acquired full control of the operation and in 1994 bought back all shares Kmart Corporation held in Coles.

A long-term licensing agreement allows Coles Group to use the Kmart name. Kmart New Zealand shares merchandise and branding with Kmart Australia, and is owned by Coles Group Holdings New Zealand.

When its first store opened in Burwood Eastmarker, Victoriamarker in April 1969, Kmart Australia was 51 percent owned by the US version of Kmart. The Burwood store opened to intense interest, with an estimated 40,000 people passing through the checkouts on the first day.

Goods Sold

Kmart stores sell typical discount department store merchandise including home entertainment goods, photographic equipment and developing, camping and fishing goods, sporting goods, toys, kitchenware, small appliances, storage & home organisation, Manchester, confectionery, stationery, books, cards & party goods, furniture, garden supplies, automotive equipment, lighting, hardware, luggage, cosmetics, clothing and footwear.

Recent events

In 2006, Coles Group announced its plans for Kmart, along with BI-LO and the Coles Group liquor brands, to be merged into the Coles brand. The merger would have seen a variety of Coles stores with different purposes, including food, merchandise, petrol and liquor. The plan was for the first re-branded store to open in 2007, with 40 stores, mostly former 'Super K' stores divided last decade into separate Coles and Kmart stores, reformed into Coles Superstores. However, in March 2007, Coles Group announced that the plans for these super centres were being deferred, pending the sale of all or part of Coles Group. In August 2007, Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder said super centres would almost certainly not be part of the Wesfarmers approach after taking over Coles Group.

Kmart's performance in recent years has been mixed. In May 2007, it reported a sales drop of 3.0% for the most recent quarter, and an overall drop in sales for the current year.

Announcing its plans in August 2007 for Coles Group following their expected takeover, Wesfarmers said it would consider selling all or part of Kmart, or converting some stores to the Target brand. Wesfarmers took control of Coles Group in November 2007 and by March 2008 had decided to retain Kmart and invest $300m in the chain over the next five years.

Kmart Derivations

Kmart Tyre and Auto Service

Specialises in automotive accessories, car servicing, tyres and checkups. Historically, these stores are usually (but not always) attached to a Kmart store. In early 2006 a number of vehicle servicing facilities at Shell service stations became Kmart Tyre and Auto Service outlets.

Girl Xpress

Specialises in clothing for young urban women. A concept standalone store selling Girl Xpress apparel opened in Victoria in 2006 outside the flagship Burwood East store.

Clearance Centre

Kmart opened its first Clearance Centre on November 30, 2006, situated in Ringwoodmarker, Victoria. The Clearance Centre operates the same way as normal Kmart Stores, however all merchandise sells for much less. This format is similar to Megamart, a chain Kmart's corporate parent Coles Group operated during the early 2000s. The Clearance Centre closed in June 2007.

Kmart Garden Super Centre

Specialised in garden, plants and garden furniture. Most of these stores were standalone, "big box" stores in a warehouse format that sell Kmart manufactured or branded outdoor living items. Many lines were not available at standard Kmart stores. The Kmart Garden Super Centre in Campbellfield is the only store that was attached to an existing Kmart store.

Kmart Garden Super Centres have been a major sponsor of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.

From circa 1999 to mid-2006 there were four Garden Super Centres in Victoria (Chadstone, Fountain Gate and Campbellfield and Watergardens), one in Queensland (Windsor) and one in NSW at Casula (The Crossroads). All stores except for the Campbellfield store have now closed and divested to Flower Power.

The future of the remaining Campbellfield store remains uncertain.

Super Kmart

Super Kmart was a hypermarket chain existing during the mid to late eighties. It sold all the same lines as a regular Kmart store, plus those sold by Coles Supermarkets. This format is very similar to those of the contemporary Pick 'n Pay Hypermarkets.

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