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

Ladieswear Menwear Kidswear Footwear Home Leisure Toys & Sporting Electronics Optometry Gardening Pets

Revenue Steady A$4.35 billion (2014)[1]
Decrease A$152.9 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
Parent Woolworths Limited

Australia's Lowest Prices Everyday

Think Big

Big W (styled as BIG W) is a chain of discount department stores in Australia. It is a division of Woolworths Limited. The chain has 185 stores, an online store at, 22,000 team members and is the leading Australian department store chain in revenue.


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 discount 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".

In June 2015 Big W opened the Brickworks Marketplace store alongside sister retailers Woolworths and Dan Murphys in South Australia with a new store format. The new store introduced department 'Gateways' to welcome customers into each area as well as having a strong focus on brands throughout. The new store has a much more softer colour scheme using a smooth brown finish floor as well as feature lighting on the displays compared to the last format which was heavy on bright white walls with blue department signs.

It was announced in July 2015 that there would be no new Big W stores or re-fits of older existing stores for the FY 2016 period, however 67 stores would receive part upgrades to the stores, specifically Toys and Apparel.


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.[6]

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 2007, Big W began trialing 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.[7] 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.[8] 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, this has lead to the roll out of Party stores around the country. As of December 2015 there are 134 Big W Party Stores making Big W the leading Party retailer in Australia [9]


Big W has several major sales annually. 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]

Christmas 2014 saw the trail of a 'Daily Deal' countdown till Christmas where the first 24 days of December would feature an exclusive one day only deal each day, it has since carried on to 2015 due to successful response. [10]


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