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Bunnings? Locals Urged To Just Say No

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The site of a proposed new Bunnings store near the Rogers Drive business estate in Kingaroy ... some South Burnett businesses are concerned the project will destroy more jobs than it creates

A poster being displayed on some local shop windows around the South Burnett questions the benefits of a proposed new Bunnings store

September 9, 2017

by Dafyd Martindale

Several South Burnett businesses have joined forces to lodge objections to a proposed Bunnings store in Kingaroy.

Business people that spoke to on Friday to say the planned store is too large and reject claims by Bunnings that it will create 60 jobs.

Instead, they believe the store will create fewer than 25 jobs and say this will be offset by the loss of a much larger number of jobs in Kingaroy and other South Burnett towns.

They are calling on the South Burnett Regional Council to reject Bunnings’ application to build a 7600sq m store on the site of the abandoned motel development near the Rogers Drive business estate.

A letter to Council, which has also been circulated to many South Burnett businesses, also questions Bunnings’ job creation claims.

The letter has been written by a hardware chain employee who formerly worked for Bunnings in operational roles from 2010 to 2014.

“When a Bunnings store first opens, more staff are employed than required for the long-term operation of the store,” the letter states.

“In the first four weeks of a Bunnings store opening, the store will be over-staffed. The staff numbers will then be thinned out to operate the store within a tight wage budget.

“Generally speaking, staff numbers will be reduced by between 30-40 per cent during this time.

“The staff jobs that are removed are mainly the staff serving on the floor, working on the registers, or filling stock.

“Although Bunnings have claimed this new store in Kingaroy will be providing 60 jobs, I know in reality the long term number for a 7600sqm Bunnings store is closer to 35-40 people, which is really between 20-25 full-time equivalents (FTEs).

“Anything more than 25 FTEs would make the store unviable in my experience, having been part of the operational budget setting for Bunnings stores.

“The management team for all new Bunnings’ stores will be current employees brought in from other stores. This includes the Complex Manager, the Operations Manager and three Department Managers.

“A 7600sqm Bunnings store also requires a significant level of sales to be viable.

“In my experience, a store of this size needs to have an annual turnover of at least $15 million, and total hardware turnover across the South Burnett is less than $15 million now.

“I am concerned about the effect this very large hardware store will have on other local businesses in Kingaroy and the surrounding areas.

“When $15 million of trade is taken from local businesses, they will reduce their staff numbers dramatically. Some of those local businesses will close altogether.

“The net result will be fewer jobs in Kingaroy and the surrounding areas.

“The Council can confirm all the above statistics by requiring Bunnings to provide it. Bunnings will have already prepared modelling for the operation of this new store, which will include staffing and sales projections.

“If Bunnings is not prepared to provide this data publicly, the Council should not be prepared to approve this application.

“I am certain this application will reduce jobs and be the nail in the coffin for many small businesses in the Kingaroy region.”

Other business people have also pointed out the impact of a Bunnings store would be felt much more widely than just general hardware sales.

Retailers selling anything from floor covering to paint and garden tools would also be affected, and so would non-competing retailers when they were hit by the loss of local jobs.

Residents could be affected in towns other than Kingaroy, too, if local shops closed and they had to drive to Kingaroy to make purchases.

One hardware store operator spoke to on Friday said she was worried for the future of her three employees.

The operator said she had been running a petition against the development in her store this week and already had eight pages of signatures.

Another store owner said they had been told by local tradies they would not support Bunnings if it opened because doing that would destroy local jobs.

“Bunnings aren’t coming to this area to compete, which would be fine. They’re coming to the South Burnett to wipe out all the competition and get a monopoly stranglehold on the market,” the businessman said.

“If they wanted to build a store that was right-sized for this region, that would be fine.

“But the monster they’re proposing is designed to dominate the market, and the Council should either reject this development outright or condition it so the project is right-sized.”

The Murgon Business and Development Association and the Nanango Tourism and Development Association are also circulating a form Letter Of Objection and copies of a petition opposing the Bunnings project to their members.

Some members of the Kingaroy Chamber Of Commerce and Industry are also circulating the documents.

The deadline for lodging public objections to the Bunnings development with the South Burnett Regional Council will close next Wednesday, September 13.

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12 Responses to Bunnings? Locals Urged To Just Say No

  1. RogerC

    I can understand competing business being concerned, its fairly obvious that they will suffer at the hands of a seasoned and well organised giant such as Bunnings. However what about the consumer ?? Where is the voice for the vast majority who will win with the increased range and better prices that Bunnings offer ? I personally know many people in the local area who already shop at Bunnings they just go to Tooowoomba or other large towns with Bunnings stores. In my mind the premise of opposing the new store based on the fact that it will provide stiff competition to those whom oppose it is not a good enough reason to stop it happening. I personally believe Kingaroy Mitre10 has the most to fear and you can bet that 90% of the job openings at Bunnings will be applied for by the staff at Mitre10 !

  2. Helen

    “Another store owner said they had been told by local tradies they would not support Bunnings if it opened because doing that would destroy local jobs.”

    This I can’t believe, tradies will go where they get the cheapest product.

  3. Bunny

    Bring it on, Kingaroy Mitre 10 is ridiculously overpriced and they been ripping people for years.

  4. Chris M

    It is my understanding that councils can only reject development applications if they do not comply with regulations. I do not think that the possible effect of that business on other businesses in the area is covered in those regulations. Again, my understanding is that development applications that are rejected can be challenged in the appropriate Court (by the developer) and can be overturned if the council has acted in error.

  5. HJ

    Don’t believe Bunnings will be cheaper! I bought a cupboard from Kingaroy Mitre 10 for $179 in July. Two weeks later we were in Bundaberg visiting friends and saw a similar cupboard in Bunnings for $220! We find exactly the same in Melbourne when we price something in both outlets. Mitre 10 may not have 24 different screws to choose from but they still have a couple that will do the same job.

    • HQ

      “Similar” ! If it was the exact product you’d have a point. Bunnings is cheaper than Mitre 10 and they offer way more the Mitre 10 ever have.

  6. Dale Gannon

    Mitre 10 has been ripping people in this area off for far too long. It’s about time they are finally getting stiff competition. Plus everyone was also whinging when ALDI lodged its application for development but look now. All the negative people shop there now.

  7. TMBL

    Kingaroy is stagnating……bring on Bunnings!

  8. Kingaroy Needs Progress

    Kingaroy is already going backwards at a rapid rate, to oppose this application will be detrimental in the long term for Kingaroy. It’s time to stop the negativity from naysayers who are only concerned for their own back pockets. Kingaroy and SB residents have been shopping at Bunnings for years and this application will only enhance the shopping experience and range available locally. The proposed location will also in turn increase foot traffic for M10, HN, Reece etc from shoppers going door to door. They currently don’t have this from Bunnings shoppers. Other local retail and eateries will also benefit from increase in out of towners coming into town for Bunnings. Bunnings will also create an impulse shopping mentality for those just out for a look, this doesn’t happen at present. You don’t go to M10 unless you really have to, range, pricing and service is appalling. Bring it on, let’s stop going backwards…!

  9. Kingaroy Needs Progress

    Look at what happened when HN came to town eight years ago, two other local furniture stores are still in business, at least one going better than ever, another store has since opened in Murgon, the business is still there and has encouraged locals to shop within our region. Similar results with electrical and computer stores, other stores are thriving on the back of a national chain to anchor the segment and keep locals shopping locally. Competition is good… Bring it on!!!

  10. Ray Pitt

    I’m afraid that the inevitable will occur, no matter how many protest and postulate about the coming of a new enterprise into our midst. If the community rejects and shops elsewhere, then the problem will resolve itself…but somehow I don’t see this occurring.

    Life is all about change and those who do not accept it are doomed to be left behind on the road to the future. I, too, have travelled to other centres to shop at Bunnings, just like most of the other members of the community.

    I did it because they had what I wanted and at a price I could afford. Competition has been with us for as long as communities have existed.

    The predictions by those of us of doom and disaster have been with us for just as long. Yes, there will be winners and losers but then what has changed?

  11. Mary Reichle

    Bunnings store opening in Dalby. No problems there apparently. Bring it on. More national franchises will follow. How about a coffee franchise and a modern eatery? I could go on.

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