German hypermarket Kaufland is set to shake up Australia's retail sector with two more stores confirmed for Melbourne and a further nine to be reviewed for roll-outs across Victoria.
The move comes as construction continues for Kaufland's 115,000 square metre distribution centre in Mickleham, and adds to three stores approved in March for Dandenong, Epping and Chirnside Park.
The confirmed sites of Oakleigh South and Coolaroo take Kaufland Australia's total number of approved stores in Victoria to five, while the company has also acquired three sites in South East Queensland and has plans to set up shop at Adelaide's Prospect 1838 development.
Plans for an additional nine stores throughout eastern and western Victoria will be reviewed by an independent panel, and include Braybrook, Lyndhurst, Geelong, South Morang, Bendigo, Narre Warren, Warrnambool, Coburg and Pakenham.
"With five approved stores, as well as the additional nine sites under review, we are committed to our long term, sustainable growth across Victoria. We look forward to creating thousands of jobs and creating opportunities for local businesses," says Kaufland Australia managing director Julia Kern.
Victoria will also be home to one of Kaufland Australia's two test stores, which both commenced construction last week.
"Our Dandenong store marks a tremendous milestone in our development here in Australia, and we are very happy to break ground for our first store in Victoria," says Kern.
"To the community and our stakeholders, we are grateful for your feedback and support, and we will continue to partner with you to create a truly customer-centric shopping experience here in Victoria."
Kern looks forward to seeing Kaufland's positive early growth in Australia and is eager to open new stores in due course.
"Australia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and we are excited to grow with it. Our aim is to raise the bar in retail excellence and provide an uncompromising quality food shop for our customers," she says.
All approvals will be exhibited for public comment and be subject to public hearings which will help inform the advisory panel's report to the Planning Minister.
Kaufland's investment in the state is estimated to be worth $435 million and expected to create 1,500 jobs. If the nine stores are approved, the investment will top half a billion and could create up to 2,400 jobs.
The supermarket giant is already engaging with Victorian suppliers, so it can source local products where possible and will provide opportunities for complementary independent retailers such as cafes within shopping complexes.
"This is great news for consumers another major player in the market will provide more choice for Victorians, more value for money at the checkout and create thousands of jobs," says Victorian Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas.
Australia marks the first expansion outside Europe for Kaufland, a business owned by German billionaire Dieter Schwarz whose company Schwarz Gruppe also owns Lidl, a retailer with a strong presence throughout Europe and which entered the US market in mid-2017.
With Kaufland and Lidl under its control, Schwarz Gruppe has overtaken France's Carrefour as Europe's largest retailer and is the world's fourth largest by revenue with sales of around 104,3 billion euros in 2018-19.
Established in 1984, Kaufland 1,200 stores in seven countries - Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Moldova.
Its outlets tend to be large 4,000 sqm stores, with the company pitching itself as a "one-stop destination supermarket" with a strong focus on fresh, including a bakery and a fresh hall.
Business News Australia
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