Kmart eyes New Zealand growth ‘for many years to come’

The new Kmart store scheduled to open in Ashburton next month. (Source: Tricroft Properties)

Kmart is planning to open four more stores in New Zealand within the next year. 

The discount department store chain’s Australia and New Zealand CEO John Gualtieri confirmed the expansion plan in an interview with Stuff before the opening of the Ruakura Superhub, a $3 billion development on Hamilton’s eastern fringe which will be home to distribution and warehousing facilities. 

Kmart will open its own distribution centre at the 92ha Superhub in about a year’s time, serving its store network in the top half of the North Island. 

The Australian-headquartered chain, a subsidiary of Wesfarmers, has 25 stores in New Zealand and the first of the four new ones will open next month in Ashburton. 

“Kmart New Zealand is a growth business for us,” Gualtieri told Stuff.

“We did a review of what’s required for our business over the next couple of decades and, as we did that assessment, we realised we needed a facility that would deliver significant growth in volumes over the coming decades.”

Brushing aside any impact from new retailers entering New Zealand – especially the grocery-led Costco which makes its debut later this month in Auckland – Gualtieri said rivalry makes Kmart “that bit sharper”. 

“We’ve got growth plans for Kmart New Zealand in both the North and South Islands for many, many years to come, so I like competition.”

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