Why Target is shrinking to take on H&M, Zara and Uniqlo

Forget Big W and Kmart: discount department store Target wants to take the fight to international fast-fashion giants H&M, Zara and Uniqlo.

Outlining a plan to revitalise the struggling retail chain on Thursday, Wesfarmers department stores chief executive Guy Russo said he’s no longer talking to the Target team about sister brand Kmart and Big W as their key competitors.

“H&M, Uniqlo and Zara is the thing we are going after,” he said at Westfarmers’ strategy day, which also revealed Wesfarmers’ plans for Bunnings, Coles and Kmart.

But to take on these global players, which each have a growing presence in Australia, Russo is thinking smaller.

Over coming years, Target will exit a number of unprofitable stores, aiming to reduce its physical store selling space by 20%, reports Inside Retail.

“It’s that problem the last four CEOs have been handcuffed by,” Russo said.

“Each site has been evaluated properly and when the lease comes up this time around we have to say to the landlords – we’re exiting.”

Russo told shareholders at the meeting that Target’s earnings have stabilised after a challenging few years, but as many as half of the retailer’s network of 305 stores remain unprofitable. It is hoped that reducing the overall selling space of Target stores will create a more profitable network overall. Read more

Eloise Keating – Smart Company – 8 June 2018