Target's plans to shut stores in Corowa, Myrtleford and Benalla have angered community leaders who fear the major impact on their towns from job losses.
The three stores earmarked to close early next year are among five in the wider region facing an identical fate with Deniliquin and Wagga to also shut.
But, Target stores in Yarrawonga and Cobram will be rebranded as Kmart with the latter to make the change as early as July this year.
Albury, Wodonga and Wangaratta will retain their larger Target stores.
Long-serving Corowa retailer and Federation councillor Gail Law said parent company Wesfarmers' decision to shut the Corowa store was misguided given Yarrawonga's population was marginally more than her hometown.
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"I would like to see Wesfarmers make it a Kmart also," she said.
"We've got two supermarkets in town and a shire area of 12,000 people. We service Victoria as well, Rutherglen and Wahgunyah.
"It is going to be a big hit to the town when people lose their jobs there."
Cr Law acknowledged Yarrawonga presently had an edge over Corowa in tourist numbers who flock to the two towns.
But she believed her hometown was about to turn the corner with the pending Ball Park caravan redevelopment and the Corowa swimming pool upgrade.
The Target Country store occupies the same building as an IGA supermarket with a nearby ANZ Bank shutting in 2018.
"I've been involved in six businesses and they have all been viable businesses," she said.
A company statement said the decision to close stores wasn't made lightly, but was required to "improve the commercial viability of the business and to support the thousands of people we employ".
Benalla mayor Danny Claridge confirmed he had already written to Wesfarmers and Target management pleading with them to reconsider closing one of the town's biggest employers.
"Benalla is one of the few regional centres that is actually in a growth phase with lots of jobs coming," he said.
"To me it doesn't make a lot of sense."
The decision to close the Myrtleford Target Country store was also a savage blow, according to Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jim vanGeet.
"We're not happy and it will affect the town no doubt," he said.
"It's early days, but we are prepared to find out what can be done to keep it open.
"We're doing a lot of things to develop the town, but it's not good to have something like Target close.
"It is a large iconic store and we've always been led to believe by the staff who work there that is one of the more profitable Target Country ones."