Big W

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This article is about the Australian department store. For other uses, see Big W (disambiguation).
Big W
Industry Retail
Founded 1976
Headquarters Bella Vista, New South Wales, Australia
Number of locations
Key people
Products Apparel/Footwear, Home, Leisure, Toys & Sporting, Electronics, Optometry
Revenue Steady A$4.35 billion (2014)[1]
Decrease A$152.9 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
Parent Woolworths Limited
Slogan Australia's Lowest Prices Everyday

Big W (styled as BIG W in its own branding) is a chain of discount department stores in Australia. It is a division of Woolworths Limited. The chain has 182 stores and is the leading Australian department store chain in revenue. Its main competitors are Kmart and Target, both owned by Wesfarmers.


Woolworths Limited's original Woolworths variety stores carried a range of general merchandise. An increasing percentage of later stores opened sold supermarket grocery lines, which eventually became the company's focus. In the 1960s, the company created Big W variety stores to complement Woolworths Supermarkets and, ultimately, replace the extensive variety store network.

The first Big W stand-alone store opened in 1976 in Tamworth.[2] A further 13 stores were opened within two years.[3] The separation of Big W and Woolworths supermarkets was largely completed by 1989, although a few Woolworths variety stores operated into the 1990s (such as the one in Rundle Mall, Adelaide).[citation needed]

In 2006, Woolworths and Big W implemented Retalix point of sale systems running on IBM POS hardware with LCD touch-screens in all stores.[4]

In October 2007, Woolworths announced a $1 billion makeover of Big W, including a new store format, logo and slogan. The first store with the new format is located in the Rouse Hill Town Centre in New South Wales, which opened on 6 March 2008, followed by the Top Ryde and Geelong stores.[5] The new logo started appearing in advertising, on store dockets and on a new Big W website on 24 October 2007. The former tagline "We sell for less" was replaced with "Live big for less", which is run alongside "Get it for less".

Since 2009, Australian fashion designer Peter Morrissey has designed affordable clothes for Big W. The move came a year after rival chain Target launched a range by UK designer Stella McCartney.[6] Morrissey has a range of men's and women's apparel lines with an emphasis on quality and trend.


In 2014, there were 182 Big W stores trading across Australia: 63 in New South Wales, 42 in Queensland, 36 in Victoria, 17 in Western Australia, 15 in South Australia, five in the Australian Capital Territory, three in Tasmania and one trading in the Northern Territory.[7]

Most Big W stores are located in suburban and regional locations. In recent years three stores have been opened in central business districts: at MacArthur Central in Brisbane, QV in Melbourne, and the Canberra Centre in City Centre, Canberra.

In April 2009, the largest Big W store (with a floor area of 10,000 square metres) was opened in the $300 million redevelopment[8] at Robina Town Centre on the Gold Coast, Queensland.


In 2007, Big W began trialling the provision of 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.[9] Big W pioneered the Australian use of 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 September 2013, Big W launched its first e-book service with a dedicated website, which had 300,000 titles available for purchase at the time.[10] This service has since been closed.

August 2014 saw Big W launch its first Party Store at their Rouse Hill store, and its second Party store at the newly refurbished Macquarie Centre in North Ryde, NSW in their newly renovated store in September/October 2014, with more Party Stores within their Big W stores planned.


Big W has several major sales annually, most coinciding with sales held by Kmart and Target. The largest is the July toy sale, which is promoted as the Giant Toy Spectacular. Some stores trade from 12 midnight on sale's launch day. During the toy sale period, Big W offers a no-deposit Christmas lay-by service. The July toy sale is a key indicator to business and retail performance measurements for the new financial year.[citation needed]


In August 2012, Big W launched a new campaign and slogan "Everyone's a Winner", based on the Hot Chocolate song, and catchphrase "Cha-ching" (mimicking the sound of an obsolete mechanical cash register). The campaign included the phrase "Everyone's a Winner with Australia's Lowest Prices". Big W's vision is to be Australia's leading multi-option discretionary retailer.[11]

Big W appointed Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet as the star of its advertising in April 2013. The actor featured in various promotional activities including television commercials, which were filmed at the flagship store in Western Sydney.[12]


External links[edit]

Video clips