Retail group’s thumbs down to Kaufland

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AFTER accepting what it terms a “peer review” a national retailers’ organisation has slammed the proposed Kaufland bid for Mornington as “confirming the worst fears of local small and family businesses” in Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Employer industry association MGA Independent Retailers, representing grocery, liquor and hardware retailers, says a recent economic impact assessment had found that Kaufland’s potential effect on “local businesses will be permanent and ongoing”.

The giant German-owned retailer is eyeing six sites in Victoria – including a 4000-metre site in Mornington near the corner of Nepean Highway and Oakbank Road. 

State planning minister Richard Wynne has overridden the normal council planning processes and given authority to consider the bid to an advisory committee of three people.

SGS Consulting conducted the assessment into the impact of proposed Kaufland supermarkets in Oakleigh South, Mornington and Coolaroo.

Kaufland has hit back, with spokesperson Didem Brennan saying it was “committed to working with local communities in an honest, transparent and fair way”. 

MGA boss Jos De Bruin said: “Under its business model Kaufland is a destination shop. It does not offer the convenience of a shopping strip, so consumers will still need to make multiple trips to complete their weekly shop.

“Kaufland will reduce footfall in existing local shopping centres which will reduce the quality, range and competition these hard-working small retailers can provide, or even their overall viability.

“If Kaufland is allowed to open in … Mornington we are giving a multi-million dollar gift to a foreign multinational, and potentially reducing choice for locals.”

MGA represents businesses that employ thousands of people and account for more than $15 billion in retail sales.

Mr De Bruin said the state government should “fight for the survival of local businesses, not turn its back on them in favour of foreign multinationals who will obliterate local economies”.

The Kaufland spokesperson said the company was “committed to working with local communities in an honest, transparent and fair way”. 

“We will continue to listen, improve and develop, to ensure we get the best outcome for all stakeholders.

“Kaufland plans to add value to the growing grocery market, and we would be grateful to participate in the Mornington community through the creation of jobs, opportunity and ongoing investment.

“Our goal is to provide an exciting combination of fresh and local produce, increased choice and great value, all under the one roof.”

First published in the Mornington News – 7 May 2019

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