Woolworths has reaffirmed its commitment to close dozens of Big W stores across Australia, and has now revealed the first three of these stores will close for good in January.
In a statement to the ASX, Woolworths Group said that as part of the store closures announced in April this year, it has negotiated with landlords to close three of its store in six months’ time.
Under the agreements reached, the stores at Chullora, Auburn and Fairfield — all in Sydney’s western suburbs — will close in January 2020. They will continue to trade as normal until that time, the retail giant said.
In announcing the closures, Big W managing director David Walker said the decisions were not taken lightly.
“We regret the impact the closures will have on affected team members,” he said.
“We would like to acknowledge the support of the communities of Chullora, Auburn and Fairfield, and the hard work and commitment of our store team members.”
Mr Walker added that the retailer will look at options to redeploy impacted employees.
“Supporting our team remains our priority and we are committed to doing the right thing by them,” he said.
“Over the next six months, we will support our team and explore redeployment opportunities with team members who choose to continue their career at Big W or with other Woolworths Group brands in the months ahead.”
Woolworths said that it will continue to liaise with the landlords of stores earmarked for closure under its network review over the coming months.
Under the previously announced plans, Big W will close its distribution centres at Warwick in Queensland and Monarto in South Australia over the next three years, in addition to the closure of “approximately” 30 stores nationally. That amounts to around 16 per cent of its national store network.
The scaling back of its network was unveiled in response to the difficult trading conditions affecting the retail sector more broadly.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.