Richard Umbers returns to supermarket roots at Kaufland

Former Myer CEO Richard Umbers has taken up a position at Kaufland, 12 months after his departure from the Australian department store chain.

The German retail giant, which is busy preparing for its launch into the Australian market, confirmed Umbers’ appointment to Inside Retail on Wednesday morning.

“I can confirm that Richard Umbers is working for Kaufland, and is based at our headquarters in Germany,” a spokesperson for Kaufland told Inside Retail.

“He is responsible for part of the international buying and sourcing operations, and while not directly involved in our launch into Australia, we are grateful for his experience and knowledge of this market”.

The AFR reports that Umbers joined the German retail giant in February, one year after his sudden departure from Myer.

Umbers’ wealth of international supermarket experience includes a senior leadership role at Aldi North West UK & Republic of Ireland and management of marketing, buying and customer engagement at Woolworths Group, where he also previously lead its New Zealand operations.

Kaufland’s expansion into Australia is well underway, with planning approval secured for its first three stores in Victoria and the country’s largest distribution centre. Three more stores in Coolaroo, Oakleigh South and Mornington are awaiting approval.

Last month, Kaufland Australia managing director Julia Kern announced an initial investment of $459 million to create opportunities for local businesses and stimulate competition and consumer choice in Australia’s supermarket sector.

The retail giant has amped up recruitment over the last six months and is currently on the lookout for candidates across purchasing, marketing and construction.

Kaufland has been known to offer successful candidates a 14-month “training and development” period in Europe where they can “become a fluent German speaker” and learn what makes the hypermarket so successful.

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