Some Big W stores will be closing but parent company Woolies is staying tight-lipped on which ones will get the chop.
Some Big W stores will be closing but parent company Woolies is staying tight-lipped on which ones will get the chop. Rob Wright

Has Big W given us a clue we won't be on the chopping block?

BUNDABERG shoppers anxious to know if the Stockland Big W store will be closing will have a wait on their hands, with parent company Woolworths remaining tight-lipped on its future.

The company has dropped a comment around regional stores, however, that some may interpret as a good thing for the Bundaberg store - the fact the closures are not only focused on the regions.

There are 183 stores across Australia at the moment, so about one in every six is to close.

A Woolworths spokeswoman said there were no plans to reveal the stores that would be closing after the company revealed 30 outlets would be shut down over three years.

"Following an extensive review of the business, we have made the difficult decision to close approximately 30 BIG W stores over the next three years. We will also close two distribution centres at the end of their leases," she said.

"These are not decisions we have taken lightly and we regret the impact this will have on affected team members.

"We have made these decisions to create a strong, profitable and more sustainable store and distribution centre network that better reflects the rapidly changing retail environment."

Which department store do you prefer?

This poll ended on 10 April 2019.

Current Results

Target

13%

Kmart

45%

Big W

40%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The spokeswoman said she understood people in areas such as Bundaberg could feel confused by the news.

"We understand the announcement, without confirmation of specific stores, will create some uncertainty for our teams and the communities in which we operate, particularly in regional areas," she said.

"We want to emphasise this review has never been focused solely on our regional stores but our entire network."

The spokeswoman said until announcements were finally made, it would be business as usual.

 

70s THEME: Big W Bundaberg employees celebrated 40 years of business at its Stockland premises on Wednesday. From back left: Ulla Bishop, Donna Jorgensen, Kym Richter, Kym Schmidt, Barb Minter, Lyn McGoldrick, Sue Pukallus, Andrea David, Jan Grills, Joanne Rumpf and Ruth Damiani. From front left: Christene Habermann, Kylie Cook, Alix Colman and Kyle Schneider.
70s THEME: Big W Bundaberg employees celebrated 40 years of business at its Stockland premises on Wednesday. From back left: Ulla Bishop, Donna Jorgensen, Kym Richter, Kym Schmidt, Barb Minter, Lyn McGoldrick, Sue Pukallus, Andrea David, Jan Grills, Joanne Rumpf and Ruth Damiani. From front left: Christene Habermann, Kylie Cook, Alix Colman and Kyle Schneider. TAHLIA STEHBENS

"Details of store closure locations will not be released due to ongoing discussions with landlords," she said.

"In the interim all Big W stores will continue to trade as normal.

"The majority of our store network is set to remain open and we're committed to doing the right thing for our team in impacted stores.

We want to emphasise this review has never been focused solely on our regional stores but our entire network.

"We will inform our team members, customers and community stakeholders well in advance of changes to any specific store."

While there has been some improvement in Big W's sales, profits haven't stood up to the company's plans, a reality that has prompted the closure of 30 of its stores.

It is understood the most profitable stores will be kept while the least profitable will be shut down.

Bundaberg's store has been located in Stockland (Sugarland) since the late 1970s.

At the time it opened, it was the largest regional Big W store in the group.

Last year, Bundaberg's Big W store held its 40th anniversary celebrations shortly after announcing a move to online operations that allowed customers to shop online and collect their items packed and ready to go.

"It's just part of evolving," the store manager told the NewsMail at the time.

What you said about the Big W vs Kmart debate:

  • I much prefer Big W over Kmart.

Karen Crook

  • I don't like Kmart, their shop is full cheap junk, Target is more expensive. Big W is middle of the road for me. I will not be happy if the close Bundaberg Big W.

Melissa Langford

  • I rather Big W, at least they have a better choice of books.

Shantal Jones

  • It isn't snobbery or anything customers are doing wrong. If Kmart are performing better than BigW it is because they are doing something better than BigW and to me it is pretty obvious what it is. These are value based stores, the store with the best prices for appealing products wins. What I have found is more often than not BigW is out-competed by stores other than Kmart. They either have low quality rubbish (like shoes and electronics) that are not so appealing because better quality can be found for a similar price in other stores or they have decent quality products that might are better than Kmart items but that can be found cheaper elsewhere. Kmart on the other hand have either cheap crap or products that meet a minimum requirement in quality but are also better priced than competitors or simply have no competition in that price range.

Steve Civic

  • I prefer Kmart to both Big W and Target. I find that Kmart has more reasonably priced stock.

Collied Dools

  • I don't like either Big W or Kmart, I would rather Target any day.

Iris Lennox



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