It’s a year of big birthdays for the Wesfarmers Group. Kmart is 50, Officeworks turns 25 and it’s 25 years since the first ‘big box’ Bunnings Warehouse opened in Sunshine, Victoria. Extraordinary change has taken place in the retail landscape in that combined century of trading. But what hasn’t changed is the commitment across all three brands to customer service, and to contributing in a meaningful way to the communities where they operate.
When Officeworks opened its first store in Richmond, Victoria in June 1994, it offered 4,500 products and had around 50 team members. The store’s best sellers were typewriters and overhead projectors. Today, Officeworks has 167 stores, a significant online business and nearly 8,000 team members offering more than 40,000 products spanning office supplies, technology, furniture and print & copy. Today, copy paper, laptops and student supplies are among its biggest sellers. To mark its 25th birthday, Officeworks has deepened its commitment to its national community partners, sponsoring a class of 25 students with The Smith Family, and donating literacy packs for students in 25 classrooms with The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation.
Kmart opened its first store in Burwood East, Victoria on 30 April 1969. Under Wesfarmers ownership since 2008, Kmart has transformed into one of the world’s most successful retailers, with a focus on providing Australian families with on-trend, everyday products at the lowest prices, 75 per cent of which are direct sourced. Kmart now operates 231 stores across Australia and New Zealand, with a growing online presence and a customer generated social media fan club in the hundreds of thousands. Kmart’s most well-known community program is its annual Wishing Tree Appeal. Back in 1987, a team member suggested the business use its network of stores as gift collection points to assist the community at Christmas time. The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is in all stores nationwide – with a special tree each year in Parliament House Canberra. In November 2019, the appeal will officially launch nationwide with founding partner The Salvation Army.
Coinciding with the opening of the first Bunnings Warehouse, the much loved Bunnings sausage sizzle also turns 25. The Bunnings sausage sizzle started from humble beginnings at the request of a local club, wanting to fundraise. In the past five years, more than 160,000 community sausage sizzles have been held across Australia and more than $144 million has been raised for community groups. During the year, 44,000 Bunnings sausage sizzles were held raising more than $38 million for local community groups.