Woolworths has announced it will shut 30 struggling Big W stores across the country with regional areas expected to cop the brunt of the closures.
The news comes despite a slight improvement in the performance of Big W, with sales growing by 6 per cent.
However Woolworths says the improvement is slower than planned.
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Following a review into the Big W chain, the company has identified approximately 30 stores over the next three years as their leases expire.
Two distribution centres at Warwick in Queensland and Monarto in South Australia will also shut, with Big W to move its supply chain closer to its stores.
Woolworths is yet to announce which Big W stores will close because of ongoing discussions with landlords with all stores and distribution centres to operate as normal in the meantime.
However analysts predict regional stores in New South Wales and Queensland are likely to see the majority of closures.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci says BIG W’s improvement is a good sign, but isn’t happening quickly enough.
“As foreshadowed at our half year 2019 results, while the recovery in trading for Big W is encouraging and there remains further opportunity for for improvement, the speed of conversion to earning improvements is taking longer than planned.
“We understand the impact the the store and DC closures will have on our team and will endeavour to provide affected team members with alternative employment options within the Woolworths Group where possible.”
“The decision will lead to a more robust and sustainable store and DC network that better reflects the rapidly changing retail environment.
“It will accelerate our turnaround plan through a more profitable store network, simplifying current business processes, improving stock flow and lowering inventory.”