A number of employees took to professional networking site LinkedIn to express their shock and sadness over the closure, lauding Kaufland as an “amazing” and “incredible” place to work.
“To the amazing people I had the pleasure of working with and the collective passion, dedication, drive, grit and determination to make Kaufland Australia a success, thank you,” a marketing manager said.
“It was an absolute pleasure, you are what made my time at Kaufland so special.”
The employees also reiterated that the news was a shock to them, with the company’s workforce finding out about the closure mere hours before a press release was sent to media.
“Words cannot express the disappointment the Kaufland Australia team feels about the sudden withdrawal from the Australian market,” one department head said.
Another manager said he was “bitterly disappointed” about the news, saying the company was starting to “make some headway” in its operations.
‘It saddens me when I drive past the sites where our stores had begun construction, knowing our dream will never be realised.’
A Kaufland Australia employee
“It saddens me when I drive past the sites where our stores had begun construction, knowing our dream will never be realised,” a junior manager said.
“The opportunity to bring one of the biggest global supermarkets into a new market is amazing, and while it didn’t work out, it was an experience none of us will forget.”
Kaufland’s exit has raised questions about the numerous sites it was developing around the country. This includes its $255 million distribution centre in Melbourne’s north, which it will likely complete building before looking for a local buyer.
It has also prompted much speculation from observers over the reasons for the decision, which one employee suggested could remain unknown.
“So many stories, articles and theories on the sad news [we] received this week at Kaufland Australia,” the worker said.
“I am not sure anyone will really know why it happened, why someone believed enough to begin this amazing journey but didn’t believe enough to see it through.”
Another employee, who was not authorised to speak on the issue, told The Age and and The Sydney Morning Herald employees knew little beyond the initial announcement and criticised some commentators for attempting to benefit from their employees’ misfortune.
In a statement on its website, Kaufland informed its suppliers and contractors it was “continuing to trade as normal until further notice”, noting it would be in contact regarding its agreements as soon as possible.
Fellow workers in the retail sector expressed their support for the affected employees, with many passing on job opportunities and support to the laid-off staff.
In addition to “generous” exit packages, a spokesperson noted the company would offer the option of employment at the company’s European operations to all affected employees.
Dominic Powell writes about the retail industry for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.