SCENIC Rim state MP Jon Krause has appealed to Wesfarmers to reconsider their decision to close their Target store Beaudesert Fair.
After an announcement made on May 22 many residents voiced dismay at the closure, saying that they would have to drive to Browns Plains or the Gold Coast for items unavailable anywhere else in Beaudesert.
Mr Krause wrote to Wesfarmers asking them to reconsider closing or to convert the store to a Kmart Hub.
"To say that the closure of the Beaudesert Target Country is disappointing to residents of the Beaudesert region is an understatement," he said.
"COVID-19 has created challenging circumstances for most businesses around the country and Target has obviously not been immune.
"In Beaudesert the choice for consumers will now be smaller, and it is concerning that Target's closure could see people go out of town to another large retail store, taking with them dollars that would otherwise be spent locally.
"The impact is far greater than just the loss of Target - it is an anchor tenant in the second largest shopping precinct in Beaudesert, and its closure will impact other businesses in that complex and the entire town.
"This type of closure has a very negative impact on all country and regional areas."
Beaudesert Chamber of Commerce president David Kassulke said the Target closure had been the subject of discussion among members and they would much prefer if Target remained.
"I was surprised at the decision to disengage from a community in such a high growth area but the nature of retail has changed," he said.
"The reality is staff at Target Beaudesert probably never met anyone on the board and the decision to close was probably made by people in an office two states away.
"On a positive note, when the store closes we do have other outlets like Buxtons and Back Roads who can step up and supply some of the items people buy in Target.
"We do not want to become a Mount Gravatt or Carindale shopping centre. That is not Beaudesert or the Scenic Rim. That would be just more of the same that is available at the Gold Coast or Brisbane.
"What is it that makes Beaudesert unique? It is certainly not the presence of a Target Country outlet."
Mr Krause received a response to his letter from Kmart Group corporate affairs and sustainability manager Tracie Walker confirming the closure.
"While I'm sure there is little I can say that will change your perceptions about our actions, I would like to share a little more with you about why the decision, which was not taken lightly, has been necessary," she wrote.
"We are very aware that what was announced will have a significant impact on many people, most importantly our team members and customers, and on the regional communities where stores will be closing.
"Target has struggled for many years and with its current financial performance unsustainable we have had to implement a comprehensive restructure of the business.
"Rather than simply close the business altogether, we considered many options and have made a significant effort to avoid store closures and retain our people where we can.
"In regional Australia, approximately half our network of Target Country stores is suited to being converted to Kmart Hub stores.
"The converted stores meet a range of criteria including network location, population catchments and are large enough to make the Kmart Hub model work, as it relies on simplicity, standardisation and relatively high volumes of product turnover.
"Unfortunately, Target Beaudesert did not meet these requirements."
Mr Kassulke said the Chamber of Commerce would welcome opinions on the issue from business owners who might have an idea how Beaudesert could deal with the closure. He invited all to attend the next Chamber of Commerce meeting at ACS Engineers, Anna Street on June 24.