As many as 167 Target stores will be closed or converted into Kmart locations in the coming year, potentially putting more than a thousand jobs on the line.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports parent company Wesfarmers announced the move this morning, reflecting Target’s flagging fortunes compared to in-house competitor Kmart.

Up to 40 large-format Target locations and 52 Target Country stores will undergo the transition. Closures will impact as many as 25 large-format Targets, and 50 Target Country stores.

All up, roughly half of Target’s Australian operation will be closed or converted. It’s not yet known which particular stores will be impacted.

“Redeployment opportunities in Kmart and other Wesfarmers businesses will minimise the effect of these changes on Target team members,” the company said in a statement.

Speaking to the ABC, Wesfarmers said the decision will see as many as 1,300 positions at Target disappear.

The retail giant said it will move to “identify redeployment opportunities for affected team members, including in Bunnings and Officeworks,” to cut back on potential redundancies.

Strong online sales amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has cratered traditional retail spending, will see the company invest in its digital offering.

The news comes as the latest awful hit to Australia’s jobs market, which has experienced an absolute pummelling thanks to the virus.

Wesfarmers says it will continue to suss out how to operate the remaining Target brand in the future.

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