Kmart drops Australia Day bombshell as the discount store REFUSES to sell merchandise celebrating January 26
- Kmart won’t stock Australia Day items this year
- Shoppers accused Kmart of trying to ‘delete’ the day
- Kmart said it offers other ‘Australiana’ goods
- Its employees can opt to work Australia Day
A frustrated Kmart customer has slammed the retail giant for failing to stock Australia Day items while others accused it of trying to ‘delete’ the holiday.
The shopper took to the Kmart Facebook page to vent their anger about the lack of Australia Day-themed goods on Wednesday.
‘We are having an Australia Day function next week and we visited our local store in Penrith to get clothes, decorations and plates to celebrate our National Day,’ the customer said.
‘Imagine my surprise when the store had no Australia Day merchandise apart from a few serviettes and paper plates hidden in the party section.
‘Would you please explain why Kmart is not stocking Australia Day merchandise?
‘Do not say they do not have the room as they have no trouble finding room for the American custom of Halloween.’
Another customer wrote: ‘Why is (Kmart) trying to delete the day?’
Kmart (above) will not stock any Australia Day merchandise this year with one frustrated customer slamming the choice when the retailer has ‘no trouble finding room for the American custom of Halloween’
Kmart sold a wide range of Australia Day merchandise between 2014 and 2016 (pictured, an old Kmart Australia Day ad)
Kmart’s Facebook page shows it stocked a large range of Australia Day merchandise – including swimming costumes, shorts and dresses – between 2014 and 2016.
However, a Kmart spokesperson confirmed they will not sell any Australia Day items this year.
‘Customers who shop with us can find a number of products year round that feature Australiana designs with Australian animals, flora and fauna, as well as educational materials,’ the spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We respect that January 26 means different things to different people and we aim to foster an environment that is inclusive and respectful of both our customers and teams.
‘It is for this reason that we will also be giving all of our team members the choice of whether or not they work that day, with the option to substitute for another day.’
Woolworths, Channel 10, Telstra and accounting firms Deloitte, KPMG and EY have also given their employees the choice of when to celebrate Australia Day.
Workers will be able to decide whether to take January 26 off to mark the holiday, or swap it for another day.
Kmart said Aussie shoppers can buy a wide range of Australiana themed goods year-round but it will not specifically stock Australia Day merchandise (above)
The holiday will be the first time Telstra’s 29,000 employees can choose whether to work on Australia Day after they voted on the subject earlier in 2022.
‘Our employees have the choice to work on Australia Day or take leave on another day. This flexibility is built into the Enterprise Agreements our employees voted on earlier this year,’ a Telstra spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
Telstra’s decision comes after Network 10 told staff they can choose how to spend the national holiday, and that it was ‘not a day to celebrate’ for Indigenous Australians.
US company Paramount owns Network Ten and chief content officer, Beverley McGarvey, and co-lead Jarrod Villani only referred to Australia Day as ‘January 26’ in an email sent to all editorial and programming staff.
‘At Paramount ANZ we aim to create a safe place to work where cultural differences are appreciated, understood and respected,’ the pair wrote in the email, first published by The Australian’s Media Diary column.
‘For our First Nations people, we as an organisation acknowledge that January 26 is not a day of celebration.
‘We recognise that there has been a turbulent history, particularly around that date and the recognition of that date being Australia Day.
‘We recognise that January 26 evokes different emotions for our employees across the business, and we are receptive to employees who do not feel comfortable taking this day as a public holiday.’
Kmart has joined a flock of other major companies offering employees the choice to swap time off on January 26 for another day to celebrate Australia Day (pictured, Australia Day revellers in Sydney last year)
KPMG said in a statement that its staff will also be allowed to skip Australia Day.
‘KPMG’s cultural leave policy allows people to swap an existing public holiday with a different day, so they can recognise and celebrate religious or significant events relevant to their culture, Indigenous heritage or religious beliefs. This also applies to Australia Day,’ a spokeswoman for the company said.
Controversy has surrounded the celebration of Australia Day in recent years, with many calling for the date to be changed, but with no consensus on when it should be.
Various councils around the country have boycotted the holiday, saying it doesn’t align with their views.
January 26, 1788 was the day the First Fleet landed at Sydney Harbour – after having abandoned plans to settle at Botany Bay to the south days earlier – with Governor Arthur Phillip raising the British flag to mark the founding of New South Wales.
The date has become increasingly controversial, with many Indigenous people observing it as a day of mourning and instead labelling it ‘Invasion Day’.