Kirrawee plans aborted as German retail giant Kaufland exits Australia

A major prospect for increased retail competition in Sutherland Shire has disappeared with the shock announcement German giant Kaufland will exit Australia.

Kaufland had identified a property at the corner of Waratah Street and Bath Road, Kirrawee, near Bunnings, as a site for one of about 30 stores it planned to open in Australia.

The retailer was negotiating with property owner, Ferdie Dominelli and discussing rezoning potential with Sutherland Shire Council. A briefing session was even organised for councillors.

This is the third aborted retail proposal for the site, which is zoned industrial and used at present for car storage.

It was to have housed a Masters hardware store until Woolworths dumped the business.

Discount wholesaler Costco then negotiated to lease the site for one of its giant stores, but a senior company official in the US died as he was about to sign off on the deal, and the plans were subsequently dropped.

Kaufland announced on Wednesday it would make an "orderly withdrawal" from Australia".

The company gave no reason, other than it would would focus on its European operations.

Kaufland had already bought several properties and was building a new $255 million distribution centre in Melbourne'.

The global retailer, whose stores have been described as a cross between a supermarket and a Kmart, has revealed nine proposed locations in Victoria and six in Adelaide, but had not named any in Sydney.