The future of Tamworth's Target is in doubt, after parent company Westfarmers announced the closure or conversion of hundreds of stores.
In a statement to media on Friday morning, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott announced it will convert many Target Country stores to Kmarts, and close others for good.
Between 10 and 25 "large format" Target Country stores will close.
Another 10 to 40 of the stores will be converted to Kmarts, subject to landlord approval.
Target will also convert 52 small stores to "Kmart hub" businesses and close "the remaining" 50 small format Target Country stores, according to the statement.
The union that represents Target employees said there is no current list of which stores will close, and there probably wouldn't ever be one until the end of the process, saying the situation remains "dynamic".
SDA state secretary Bernie Smith described himself as "shocked and concerned about the announcement" this morning.
"Our number one priority will be how to get people redeployed to other businesses," he said.
He flagged the union would be working with other retailers outside Wesfarmers with an eye to finding their members work outside the company, if needs be.
The company said the closures were necessary to "address the unsustainable financial performance of Target".
Target runs a national network of more than 200 stores, including outlets in Moree, Armidale and Dubbo.
Tamworth already has a Kmart located in Tamworth Square. Tamworth's Target is located on Peel Street, in the centre of the CBD.
Target staff in stores to be converted will be offered jobs in Kmart, Westfarmers said. Target employees whose store close will be given "consideration" for work in Kmart, or possibly at Bunnings or Officeworks, according to the company.
The cuts and conversions will be implemented over the next 12 months.
Kmart Group Managing Director Ian Bailey said the Target brand has a future.
"We continue to believe that Target has a future as a leading retail brand in Australia and is much loved by many customers, but a number of actions and changes are required to ensure it is fit for purpose in a competitive, challenging and dynamic market, including a smaller number of stores and a stronger online business," he said.
The Leader has contacted Wesfarmers for comment.
Mr Scott said the retail sector has long faced structural change and disruption, a trend the company expects to continue.
"The reduction in the Target store network will be complimented by increased investment in our digital capabilities," he said in the ASX release.
The cuts will cost Target between $120 and $150 million.