Big W
Get Big W essential facts below. View Videos or join the Big W discussion. Add Big W to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Big W

Big W
IndustryRetail Department store
Founded1964; 55 years ago (1964)
Number of locations
182 as of 2019
RevenueSteadyA$4.11 billion (2015)[1]
DecreaseA$114 million (2015)[1]
OwnerWoolworths Group
Number of employees
ParentWoolworths NZ

Big W is an Australian chain of discount department stores, which was founded in regional New South Wales in 1964. The company is a division of Woolworths Group and as at 2019 operated 182 stores, with around 22,000 employees across Australia and Asia.


Woolworths Limited developed the Big W brand to provide Australian shoppers with a broad range of general merchandise products in a dedicated one-stop-shop. The Big W chain grew out of Woolworths Limited's original Variety stores, which carried a small range of general merchandise products. The first Big W department store opened in 1964 at Jesmond, New South Wales. Big W's name reflects the complementary relationship it has with Woolworths Supermarkets although the W does not stand for woolworths but instead the initial for warehouse adopted from Woolworths original name of Woolworths bargain basement warehouse. The separation of Big W and Woolworths supermarkets was largely completed by 1989, although a few Woolworths Variety stores continued to operate into the 1990s (such as the one in Rundle Mall, Adelaide).


In 2007, Big W began trialling optometry services in South Australia and since then, these services have been added to selected stores in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.[2] Big W were the second company in Australia to use self-serve checkouts, which were introduced in 2003 on a trial basis in two of Sydney's major stores and began expanding throughout Australia in late 2005.[] In May, 2019, Big W announced the closure of all 41 Big W Optometry stores, along with 175 job losses. This would not affect the Big W store that housed the optometry department, and that the last optometry sessions could be held in late July. As of August 2019, all optometry stores have closed.

In August 2014, Big W launched its first party store at Rouse Hill in New South Wales and its second at the newly refurbished Macquarie Centre at North Ryde in New South Wales. There are currently 183 stores across Australia.[3]

Big W Closures

Woolworths discount chain Big W is scaling back its presence in one of the most populous parts of Sydney by closing three stores in close proximity in  the city's south-west.

Woolworths announced the first of about 30 Big W stores to close over the next three years as part of a strategy aimed at cutting costs and restoring profitability are in Chullora, Auburn and Fairfield - all of which trade within a 12-kilometre radius.

Woolworths said it had reached agreements with landlords and managing agents - Elanor (Fairfield and Auburn) and Jones Lang LaSalle (Chullora) - to close the three stores in January 2020 but did not disclose the cost of exiting the leases.

Citigroup analysts believe the biggest beneficiary of the store closures will be Wesfarmers' Kmart, which has been taking market share from Big W for several years, but Woolworths is hoping Chullora, Fairfield and Auburn customers will shop online or switch to neighbouring Big W stores in Bankstown, Merrylands, Wetherill Park and Winston Hills.

Woolworths bit the bullet on the ailing Big W business in April, announcing plans to close up to 30 of its 183 stores and two distribution centres, in Warwick, Queensland and Monarto, South Australia, with the loss of possibly more than 1000 jobs.

Store closures are based on trading performance rather than the length of leases and the 30 stores selected have the lowest sales per square metre and highest rent per square metre in the network.

Woolworths will book $270 million in one-off costs this year to exit leases before they expire, and cover redundancies and other store closure costs.

The retailer will also book about $100 million of non-cash asset impairments to reflect more "conservative" margins at Big W after taking into account current and future trading as customers shift to online shopping and costs such as home deliveries rise.

The 2019 charges come after Woolworths booked $151 million in Big W impairments and restructuring costs in 2016, when five stores closed, and $35 million in impairments in 2017.

Big W managing director David Walker said on Thursday the closures were aimed at building a strong, profitable and more sustainable store and distribution centre network that reflected customers' needs and the rapidly changing retail environment.

"These are not decisions we take lightly and we regret the impact the closures will have on affected team members," Mr Walker said.

Big W has lost $275 million over the last three years after losing market share to Kmart, other discounters and online rivals.

After several unsuccessful turnaround plans, the chain appears to be finally turning the corner, posting its strongest quarterly sales growth in 10 years in the March quarter.

However, Woolworths expects Big W to lose another $80 million to $100 million this year, despite sales of more than $3.5 billion, taking losses to about $375 million in four years.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Sales report. "Full Year Results - Financial Year 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Big W Vision - Optical Locations". Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ "Party Stores". Big W.
  4. ^ "Woolies names first three Big W stores to close". Australian Financial Review. 18 July 2019. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes