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Huge Kaufland DC adrift after change of heart

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German company beats retreat from Australian adventure

Huge Kaufland DC adrift after change of heart
An artist’s impression of a Kaufland store that won’t be built

 

German supermarket chain Kaufland’s dreams of rivalling of Costco and Aldi in Australia have come to nothing and with it plans for a $225 million distribution centre in Melbourne.

Six months ago, sods were being turned and press photographs taken at the Mickleham site.

Vaughn Constructions had the deal to build the 117,000 square metre temperature controlled building with 130 loading docks that Vaughn described then as to be the country's biggest such facility.

That and its first three stores, also in Melbourne, plus 17 elsewhere, are gone, after a change of focus back to European markets and an embarrassing retreat.

Kaufland says its 200 Australian employees were informed of the decision today, with an assurance that "generous packages including all entitlements will be offered, as part of a thorough support and consultation process for all".

The future of Kaufland’s existing Australian investments, including properties purchased for retail outlets and distribution infrastructure, will be discussed with the relevant parties in coming days.

This decision is about focusing business activities in Europe and is in no way a reflection of the efforts of our local employees or management, or the support Kaufland has received from the Australian business community or governments, the company insists.

"This was not an easy decision for us. We always felt welcome in Australia, of Kaufland International acting CEO Frank Schumann says.

"We would like to thank our employees and we apologise for the disruption this decision will cause.

"We would also like to thank our business partners, who offered us great support over the last few years.

"We would also like to thank the government for being very open-minded to our projects."

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