Big W store closures: Central West staff remain in limbo

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Big W staff across the Central West are still in limbo three months after the retailer announced it would shut 30 stores. Photo: FILE
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Big W staff across the Central West are still in limbo three months after the retailer announced it would shut 30 stores. Photo: FILE

ALMOST three months since Big W announced it would close 30 stores nationally, staff in six Central West stores remain in limbo.

The announcement might have come on April 1, but it was far from an April Fool's joke with the retail giant announcing expected losses of $80-$100 million this financial year.

Big W say these losses will force the closure of 30 stores during the next three years.

There are six Big W stores in the Central West - Bathurst, Dubbo, Mudgee, Orange, Parkes and Young - and staff at these stores are still yet to be told of their future and that of the store.

A spokesperson for Woolworths, Big W's parent company, admitted in April that not identifying the locations of the soon-to-be-closed stores had created "uncertainty".

Three months later the uncertainty remains, with a Big W spokeswoman unable to confirm if the six Central West stores were among the closures.

"These are difficult decisions to make and we regret the impact this will have on affected team members.

Big W spokeswoman

"We have made no specific store closure announcements to date as negotiations with landlords are ongoing. In the interim, all Big W stores will continue to trade as normal," she said.

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

"These are difficult decisions to make and we regret the impact this will have on affected team members."

Big W stores in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo are profitable and on long leases, shopping centre managers in each city told Australian Community Media in April.

While, Big W store managers in Mudgee, Parkes and Young were unable to comment on any potential closure.

The closures come following an extensive national review of Big W stores and distribution centres.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Big W staff across the Central West are still in limbo three months after the retailer announced it would shut 30 stores. Photo: FILE

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Big W staff across the Central West are still in limbo three months after the retailer announced it would shut 30 stores. Photo: FILE

"We want to emphasise this review has never been focused solely on our regional stores but our entire network," the Big W spokeswoman said.

"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."

Also set to shut are 41 Big W Optical practices which will close at the end of this month and two distribution centres (located in South Australia and Queensland) which will shut at the end of their leases.

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