By Justin Flynn
Thirteen Target employees face an uncertain future after the retail giant announced the closure of its Ocean Grove branch.
The Target Country branch at Ocean Plaza will close its doors on 28 September.
A Target spokesperson told the Voice that its lease had expired and it would not seek a renewal.
The spokesperson said the company would work to re-employ its 13 staff.
“Target is working hard to ensure our Ocean Grove team members can join another Target team at a store convenient to them or across the wider Wesfarmers retail businesses,” the spokesperson said.
“Target wants to thank our Ocean Grove team, the local community and all of our customers for shopping with us and hope they will consider visiting us at our Geelong and Waurn Ponds stores.”
Ocean Grove Business Association president Ty Simons said the decision was “a shame”.
“It is always a shame to see businesses closing locally, particularly one with a history in the region,” he said.
Retail however is a tough business these days, with increased rents, wages costs and other over heads meaning that there is little left in the way of profits, if any, for many.
“The only hope is that any new retailer going into the complex is a better draw card for the other retailers in the space as well.
“Another stark reminder that if we do not continue to shop locally then we will lose the ability to shop altogether.”
Target came under fire from locals when it stopped selling menswear in late 2016.
Target said at the time that it was a trial to “have its space and range reviewed”.
When Target pulled its menswear from the shelves of its Ocean Grove store, it left the town with no place to buy men’s clothing apart from two surf clothing shops on The Terrace – The Green Room and Strapper Surf.
Elderly customers were forced to travel to Geelong for basic menswear.
However a backlash from locals resulted in the company reversing it decision several weeks later.