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German supermarket giant Kaufland pulls out of Australia

German supermarket giant Kaufland pulls out of Australia

German supermarket chain Kaufland has announced its decision to exit the Australian market, just months after it began construction on its first stores.

Kaufland’s 200 Australian employees were informed of the decision on Wednesday, with the company saying “an assurance that generous packages including all entitlements will be offered, as part of a thorough support and consultation process for all”.

The retailer said the decision was “in no way a reflection of the efforts of our local employees or management, or the support Kaufland has received from the Australian business community or governments”.

“This was not an easy decision for us. We always felt welcome in Australia,” Kaufland International acting CEO Frank Schumann said in a statement.

“We would like to thank our employees and we apologise for the disruption this decision will cause.”

The company said it would focus on the European market for the “foreseeable future”.

Last year, Kaufland commenced construction of stores in South Australia’s Prospect and Victoria’s Dandenong as well as a $255 million distribution centre in Mickleham, Victoria. It also revealed plans to open more than 20 stores across Australia.

Kaufland, the world’s fourth biggest retailer, has more than 1,200 stores with 130,000 employees across eight European countries.