Wesfarmers has announced it will hang on to Coles’ struggling general merchandise Kmart chain. Wesfarmers had considered selling off Kmart after it took over the Coles empire last year.
However, the group said yesterday it had concluded its strategic review of Kmart and decided to retain the chain and invest in its continuing improvement.
Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder said the board was encouraged by the better performance of the Kmart business in the latter months of the first half of the financial year and the prospects of growth.
“The focus on an enhanced product offer and a better value proposition for customers will continue,” he said in a statement. “The board will monitor performance over time, as it does with all Wesfarmers-owned businesses.”
He said Kmart chief Larry Davis had decided to retire. “On behalf of Wesfarmers I thank Larry for his drive and enthusiasm, which has been so evident during the brief period of our ownership of Kmart, and for the important part he played in the just-completed review,” he said.
Davis will leave the business at the end of next month. Mark Goddard, currently Kmart’s general manager, merchandise, will become acting managing director until the position is filled permanently.