Kmart and Target to be united under one department stores division

Wesfarmers says new structure is about maximising efficiencies and opportunities across the two department stores

Wesfarmers is uniting its Kmart and Target brands under a new department stores division, and has appointed current Kmart managing director, Guy Russo, as its chief executive.

The ASX-listed retail group’s new structure was revealed during its half-year financial results today, and also comes after Kmart experienced double-digit sales growth. Kmart reported a 12.6 per cent increase in year-on-year revenue to $2.7 billion in the six months to 31 December 2015, and a 10.5 per cent rise in EBITDA to $368m.

According to Wesfarmers, the new department stores model is about maximising and sharing opportunities where appropriate across Kmart and Target, while maintaining and growing both brands. It’s also a reflection of the support Kmart’s leadership team has gained within the wider Wesfarmers business.

Russo has been with Kmart since 2008 and took over as managing director of Kmart in 2010, leading a transformation of the low-cost retailer that has seen sales volumes double and profit growth soar.

Reporting to Russo in his new role will be current Target managing director, Stuart Machin, who retains his position until July, when he is expected to take on a new senior role in the group. Wesfarmers has also promoted Kmart’s chief operating officer, Ian Bailey, as the brand’s new managing director.

In addition, Kmart’s finance director, Marina Joanou, will be promoted to finance director across the department stores division.

“This is the right time to draw together some functions of the individual businesses to ensure we get maximum reward from the strong work that has been undertaken in both,” said Wesfarmers managing director, Richard Goyder.

“The newly formed division will allow streamlined coordination of functions, where it makes sense to do so, such as in property, finance and corporate affairs and sustainability.

“Individually, both Kmart and Target have been through challenging times since we acquired them in 2007. Kmart was in very poor shape when we took ownership, but Guy Russo, Ian Bailey and their team have done an outstanding job and the business has been trading very strongly for several years.”

Target has struggled with customer relevancy along with a raft of operational inefficiencies, and has been undertaking a transformation program over the last three years. Goyder highlighted improvements in ecommerce, sourcing, ranging, supply chain and operational productivity, as well as the launch of a new store format, as milestones on the path to positive footing and future growth.

In its financial results for the first-half, Target reported a 1.9 per cent rise in revenue to $1.97bn, and 6.3 per cent rise in EBITDA to $119m.

“The strong work by Guy, Stuart and their respective teams has allowed the group to pursue this option when previously it just wasn’t feasible to do so,” Goyder added.

CMO can also reveal Target brought on new marketing director, Kenton Elliot, in December. Elliot replaces former marketing leader, Phil Wade, and was previously the global strategy and innovation director for Johnnie Walker at Diageo.

A spokesperson confirmed that Elliot's position, along with that of Kmart's GM of marketing, Michelle Teague, remains unchanged.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook:, or check us out on Google+:

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

Getting your business ready for the Entrepreneurial Consumer

We all know the digital revolution has completely transformed the way consumers are interacting with brands, and that a lot of businesses are finding it hard to catch up. One way to closing this brand gap is to understand consumer behaviour and build a brand experience that meets these new needs.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Thanks for this. The key for me is the effective of governance where it dictates and sets the proactive policy when it comes to CX. Tech ...

Hitesh Parekh

6 lessons in modern marketing from a customer experience chief

Read more

Very well said “With today’s consumers more demanding of the brands and merchants they shop, it’s imperative for merchants to not just co...


CMO's top 10 martech stories for this week - 29 September

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in