Target Australia is moving its headquarters from the port city of Geelong in southern Australia to Melbourne.
After weeks of speculation, the company confirmed the news Thursday in a statement issued to the media, declining to comment on how many jobs would be lost during the restructuring process but noting that voluntary redundancy or redeployment would be offered to the office’s 900 employees.
According to ABC, between 130 and 180 positions are likely to be wiped out completely.
“Following much consultation and discussion with the team in Geelong, around Australia and overseas, I informed the team that the Geelong site for the national office is no longer a viable option if we’re to remain competitive and build a profitable business for shareholders, customers and the entire 20,000 team members across our store network,” Guy Russo, chief executive officer of the department stores division at Wesfarmers Ltd., which includes both Target and Kmart.
“Therefore,” he added, “The store support office will be relocating from Geelong to a location closer to Melbourne which will be more appropriate for all stakeholders including those team members that live in or around Geelong, those team members that travel to Geelong from Melbourne and all the stakeholders that work with us including national and international suppliers and business partners who visit this office.”
The company has not yet found a new location, but said that it’s hoping to secure a site that’s on the Geelong side of the Westgate Bridge as well as near public transport and a retail hub.
“This will take some time and I don’t expect us to be moving within the next 12 months,” Russo continued.
The announcement followed the recent resignation of Stuart Machin, managing director, who quit after an internal investigation discovered that rebate deals negotiated with 31 overseas suppliers—which boosted profits in the six months ended Dec. 31—were agreed on the condition of subsequent product cost increases that would diminish incomes in the second half of the year.
Machin, who claimed he had no knowledge of these arrangements, said, “They happened on my watch and, as managing director, I accept my share of the responsibility. The right thing is now for me to move on.”