Less than a year after it was rumoured to be considering a place in Wagga, the international 'hypermarket' Kaufland has announced its complete withdrawal from Australia.
The company was expected to open up to 30 stores in Australia and had already begun breaking ground on its $24 million site in South Australia before the announcement came on Wednesday.
The domestic investment is understood to circle the $500 million mark, including the $255 million distribution centre built in Melbourne last June.
Wagga business chamber's Daniel Donebus described the announcement as a sad illustration of the nation's current economic downturn.
"It's a missed opportunity for them and for the Australian market, being that they were poised to invest millions of dollars and create new jobs," Mr Donebus said.
While the reason for the supermarket's withdrawal is not yet known, Mr Donebus believes the decision was based on a recognition of the unique challenges in establishing a brand in Australia.
"I'm aware that the supermarket industry is very competitive with the main players, the independent names and the overseas giants like Aldi and Costco," he said.
Mr Donebus admitted the decision to withdrawal likely comes down to a timing issue, based on the current uncertainty in ensuring a strong return on investment.
"Australia's and the world economy is in a state of uncertainty. When someone is planning a large investment like this it's obviously not something you do without homework," he said.
"[The decision] would take into account the costly period of establishment for any new name against businesses that are already here."
Although the Kaufland brand is very well established across Europe - two years ago it was ranked by a Deloitte study as the world's fourth-largest retailing brand - it is not a name that is well-known in the Australian market.
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But this, Mr Donebus believes, may not have been a factor in the decision.
"They would have seen the success of their countrymen at Aldi and the inroads that had been made with Costco, and seen that the Australian market is mature enough [to handle] another player, especially one with an established name overseas," Mr Donebus said.
With the announcement now made, Mr Donebus hopes it will trigger an economic shift and provide an opportunity for the Australian economy to mature in a new way.
"We need to find a way forward for a more sophisticated economy, we need to be clever, think outside what we've always done," he said.
"We can't rely on being seen as the new country, relying on population growth as a way to attract new businesses.
"Adversity always brings opportunity if you're willing to be creative. [This announcement] is disappointing but it's reality, we either rise to the challenge or be swept up in it."