RIVERINA residents say the closure of five Target Country stores in the region was "a tragedy" for regional and rural communities.
Wagga's Target Country store is one of the five affected by the major re-branding announcement made last week.
The Leeton, Deniliquin, Corowa and Cootamundra stores will also close down in 2021 whereas Tumut's Target Country will become a Kmart. The fate of the Griffith store is yet to be announced.
Gundagai resident Ann Reardon, who was shopping in Wagga at the weekend, said this loss has happened at "the worst time" for these communities who rely on businesses such as Target for employment.
"This is going to be a massive loss for so many small regional towns ... we cannot afford to lose more jobs, especially right now," she said.
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Although Target Australia will still offer online services for regional customers, Ms Reardon said she would not want to shop online and could imagine many other people felt the same way.
"I want to feel and try the product before I buy it. I can't do that online," she said.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said it was disappointing news because Target Country had provided a good outlet for the city for many years.
However, he said these were difficult times and people could expect to hear more announcements like this, which will be unfortunate for not only Wagga but the wider region.
"We provide retail services for a population of around 180,000 people. A large number of people come from around the region to Wagga to shop and it's a very valuable part of our economy," he said.
Snowy Valley's mayor James Hayes said that although other regional communities have been affected, it was positive news for the Tumut-based store that has avoided closure.
He said converting the store into a Kmart was "better than the alternative".
Cr Hayes said it was too soon to tell if this could mean more employment opportunities for Tumut, however he was pleased Target employees could retain their jobs.
"This is positive at the end of a pretty bleak week for the area," he said.
In an update from Target Australia's managing director Marina Joanou, she stated the changes will happened from early to mid-2021.
"We understand these closures will affect a lot of people in the Target community," the statement said.
"We are committed to providing every opportunity for redeployment for our team members who will be affected by these changes."
A Target spokesperson previously told The Daily Advertiser the company will work with employees to offer other redeployment opportunities at Kmart, Bunnings, Officeworks and Catch.