• Target to cut between 130 and 180 jobs in Geelong
  • Operations centre to be relocated to Melbourne
  • Target found to have inflated 2015 earnings by £11.2m

Target will cut between 130 and 180 jobs at its Geelong operations centre as the Australian retailer relocates to Melbourne.

Senior management at the Wesfarmers-owned department store chain told workers that the centre, which employs 900 people, would be relocated to an unspecified location in Melbourne’s west.

Between 130 and 180 jobs will be lost as part of the move, ABC online reported.

Employees will have the option of voluntary redundancies or redeployment at other Wesfarmers’ businesses in Geelong, such as Kmart.

Target’s newly appointed chief executive, Guy Russo, said the move was necessary.

“To ensure Target is profitable and sustainable, some hard decisions have had to be made,” he said in a statement.

“The Geelong site for the national office is no longer a viable option if we’re to remain competitive and build a profitable business for shareholders, customers and the entire 20,000 team members across our store network.”

A redundancy programme will begin in the next three weeks and each case will be assessed individually.

Target’s former managing director Stuart Machin resigned last week amid a probe into the business’ accounts, which exposed its profits had been artificially inflated through supplier rebate deals.

Wesfarmers, which acquired Homebase earlier this year, found that Target’s earnings were inflated by A$21m (£11.2m) in the final six months of 2015.

Target former chief financial executive Graeme Jenkins was due to succeed Pets at Home’s new boss, Ian Kellett, as chief financial officer earlier this month, but the pet retail group reversed its decision to appoint Jenkins following the results of the investigation.