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Kmart converts three stores into online fulfilment centers

As customers settle into the new normal of being unable to travel to and shop at most of their favourite stores, online has become the new shopping centre and the increased online orders are beginning to take their toll.

In response to this trend discount department store Kmart has opted to close three of its 240 stores to the public and instead operate them as online fulfilment sites.

While e-commerce typically makes up ~10 per cent of a retailer’s sales, the current climate is anything but typical and the increased traffic is leading to many sites, supply chains and delivery times to struggle. 

In an email seen by the Daily Mail, Kmart Australia and New Zealand retail director John Gualtieri apologised to customers who have experienced delayed orders or are having difficulty reaching customer service teams. 

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the volume of orders over the past few weeks and stock availability has been impacted; making it difficult to keep up with our customer needs,” Gualtieri said. 

“To support the volume of orders we’ve added additional resources to help correct these issues as fast as we can.”

Stores at Brandon Park, Victoria, Top Ryde, New South Wales, and Caboolture, Queensland, are now operating purely as online distribution centres. 

“Our store teams continue to work in store as part of the fulfilment team, ensuring that our Kmart customers and communities have easy access to the products they need, at the time they need them most,” a Kmart spokesperson told Inside Retail.

Even as retailers take steps to mitigate the impact of increase online ordering, logistics providers are inundated and struggling to keep up with demand.

Australia Post recently told Inside Retail it has been seeing demand levels in the realm of what it contends with around Christmas and Black Friday. However, in order to comply with social distancing measures it can’t put more staff on to deal with the additional orders.

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