Target closure a blow to Emerald's supply and choice
SEVEN people will lose their jobs and residents will have fewer shopping options when Target shutters its Emerald store next year.
The store will close in early to middle 2021, not to be replaced with a Kmart as others across the country will be.
Tieri resident Jennifer Taylor, who drives 45 minutes each week to shop in Emerald, called the store "essential".
She said BIG W could not be the sole retailer for Central Highlanders.
"Our rural community is concerned that they're having their services eroded," Mrs Taylor said. "They'll leave our community without any shopping options.
"Emerald is a regional shopping centre for many families that live in rural areas. Replacing target would be more beneficial than closing it down.
"We need another store to keep up with the demand. The need is there."
Emerald Chamber of Commerce president Victor Cominos said he had two concerns about the closure: job losses and product availability.
"When you look around at the number of stores in Emerald that are able to supply clothing at budget prices, Target's it," he said.
"The concern is that if Target goes and Big W eventually goes as well, there's very little option in Emerald as to what we buy."
Mr Cominos said "quite a number of people will be made jobless" and that without the Target store, fewer people would visit the town.
"The likes of Target is an attraction," he said. "There are people who will come from other centres to Emerald because Target's here.
"Take Target out of the equation, there's less of an attraction to want to come to Emerald."
"We need people to come to town and spend money in town."
He said that now was a particularly poor time for further economic setbacks.
"Things are quiet as they are," Mr Cominos said. "We don't need further distractions to make things any quieter.
"We're fighting a losing battle. At a time like now when things should be improving, not slowing down, we're going backwards."
Target's website says the closures were "necessary to improve the commercial viability of the business and to support the thousands of people we employ.
"We know that we need to adapt our business - to make it smaller, more focused, less complex and more digitally enabled so we can better serve our customers both instore and online."
It said that where possible, it would find employees positions at other businesses owned by or involved with Wesfarmers.
"We're also working with other employers to try and find opportunities for our team. Target team members who are unable to be redeployed will be provided with access to support services, along with all entitlements."
Target asked employees of the Emerald store not to speak with media.