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  • Katrin Hilberath

Kaufland is coming to Australia: German hypermarket giant has hired former Myer CEO

As Kaufland prepares to enter Australia’s $100 billion supermarket industry, the German retail giant has hired the former CEO of Myer, Richard Umbers, only 12 months after his departure from the Australian department store amid concerns about the store’s performance.


InsideRetail Australia reports that Umbers is currently “working for Kaufland and is based in [their] headquarters in Germany…responsible for part of the international buying and sourcing operations, and while not directly involved in [their] launch into Australia, [they] are grateful for his experience and knowledge of this market”.


Umber’s experience in senior positions includes roles at Aldi, Woolworths and StarTrack, as reported by the Daily Mail Australia . “We are grateful for his experience and knowledge is this market” a spokesperson for Kaufland told the Australian Financial Review.


The 53-year-old, now based in Germany, is working for a business “known to previously sent senior executives to Europe for training, for up to 14 months”, as InsideRetail Australia reported.


It was only in March that media announced Kaufland’s $459 million plan to build their massive distribution centre and headquarters in Melbourne’s outer north. Add to this impressive plan three stores in Epping, Dandenong and Chirnside Park and support offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. According to an article on InsideRetail Australia, locations in Melbourne such as Oakleigh South, Coolaroo and Mornington are also currently under discussion.


The initial multimillion dollar investment is tapped to create opportunity for local businesses and drive competition for consumer choice within the current Australian supermarket industry.


The store design is expected to be approximately twice the size of the existing Woolworths and Coles stores and stock around 30,000 products. InsideRetail compares this additional range to only 22,000 at Coles and Woolworths and an even lower 1,350 at Aldi. The first of Kaufland’s stores is expected to open in 2021 once the 115,000 square metre distribution centre is complete and operational.


Kaufland has shown commitment to this plan with recruitment programs over the last months, looking for candidates across purchasing, marketing and construction. Some roles advertised on Seek include a training and development period in Europe.



Kaufland mall in Croatia © iStock by Getty Images/Gennadiy Kravchenko


What is a hypermarket?


Hypermarkets, such as Walmart and Kaufland, combine the idea of a large supermarket and a department store. Hypermarkets offer a wide variety of products such as appliances, clothing and groceries. This allows consumers to satisfy all their shopping needs in one place, from groceries to general merchandise.

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