Kmart could head to North

By Mike Dinsdale

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The Okara Shopping Centre site understood to be lined up to house Kmart in Whangarei. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The Okara Shopping Centre site understood to be lined up to house Kmart in Whangarei. Photo / Michael Cunningham

The company is keeping quiet - for now - but Australian-based big box retail giant Kmart is believed to be finally setting up shop in Whangarei.

There's been a number of false dawns for Whangarei shoppers in recent years with many rumours of Kmart moving into the city, with a number of potential sites suggested.

However, the Northern Advocate understands the retail giant is going to open a store in the Okara Shopping Centre, taking over the buildings formerly housing Warehouse Stationery and Bedz Direct, as well as the building occupied by the Northland Rugby Union.

It's believed the company's Australian head office is due to announce it is finally moving to Whangarei in the next few days, but despite several efforts to get the company's Victorian head office to confirm or deny its position, the company has remained silent. It has three times over the past five days said it would give the Advocate a statement on the issue, but by edition time yesterday, no statement was forthcoming.

Kmart operates 170 stores in Australia and 16 in New Zealand, with its head office located in Mulgrave, Victoria. Kmart opened Australia's first discount department store in Burwood, Victoria in 1969.

Earlier this month Kmart opened a new store in Nelson and Northland shoppers will no doubt be keen to see one open in the region. However, barring major work being carried out, it's considered unlikely that a Kmart store would open in Whangarei ahead of Christmas.

What do you think about Kmart opening in Whangarei? Send your views to reporters@northernadvocate.co.nz.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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