Big W

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Big W
IndustryRetail Department store
Founded1964; 55 years ago (1964)
Number of locations
182 as of 2019
RevenueSteady A$4.11 billion (2015)[1]
Decrease A$114 million (2015)[1]
OwnerWoolworths Limited
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 Limited 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.[citation needed] 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[edit]

Speculation regarding the future of Big W rose following losses reported in August 2016 and the resignation of its chief executive in November 2016.[4][5] Big W posted a loss of $150.5 million in the year to June 2017.[6]

On April 1, 2019, the company announced that following another $110M financial Loss, 30 to 60 unprofitable stores will close. In addition, a distribution centre in Monarto, South Australia, will close in 2021, with another distribution centre in Warwick, Queensland, to close 2 years later.

Here is a list of the first 30 stores that may close[7]


Dalby, QLD

Gladstone, QLD

North Rockhampton, QLD

Yeppoon, QLD

Emerald, QLD

Warwick, QLD


Inverell, NSW

Armidale, NSW

Tamworth, NSW

Muswellbrook, NSW

Cessnock, NSW

Singleton NSW

Mudgee, NSW

Erina, NSW

Dubbo, NSW

Richmond, NSW

Katoomba, NSW

Bonnyrigg, NSW

Liverpool, NSW

Bathurst, NSW

Orange, NSW

Parkes, NSW

Tweed Heads South, NSW


Renmark, SA

Port Augusta, SA


Bunbury, WA


Bendigo, VIC

Echuca, VIC

Wangaratta, VIC

Shepparton, VIC

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sales report. "Full Year Results - Financial Year 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Big W Vision - Optical Locations". Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  3. ^ "Party Stores". Big W.
  4. ^ "Big W turnaround in doubt after chief executive's shock departure". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Analysts split on the future of Big W". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  6. ^ Chung, Frank (23 August 2017). "Woolworths reports full-year profit of $1.53 billion". News Ltd. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  7. ^ Blake, Nikki (28 March 2019). "BREAKING: The 30 BIG W stores that could close FIRST". Pacific Magazines. Retrieved 30 April 2019.

External links[edit]