Big W Still Classed a ‘Work-In-Progress’

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By Published On: May 7, 20180 Comments

According to Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci, Big W’s Q3 results indicate the discount department store is still a ‘work-in-progress’.

After reporting a 1.2 percent decrease in comparable sales over the Easter period in its Q3 2018 financial result, Banducci cited the weather as a contributing factor to less-than-desirable sales results.

BIG W’s turnaround is still a work in progress, with Easter-adjusted comparable sales declining by 1.2 percent, impacted by the timing of New Year’s Day and school holidays in NSW,” he said.

However, despite poor sales over the holiday period, the retailer did report an increase in overall sales of 3.2 percent to $770 million, while comparable sales shot up by 3.3 percent.

One of the most challenging departments over the last three months was seasonal stock, in particular, winter apparel, which performed well below expectations for the quarter. This has been a common denominator across the retail sector, as Australia’s warmer than usual autumn has driven retailers to mark stock prices down much earlier than anticipated, while consumer demand for warm clothing and heaters has been at an all-time low.

Big W also reported positive growth thanks to an increase in basket items by as much as four percent, however, this was offset by lower prices across all categories.

As a whole, Woolworths Group had a strong quarter, with customer satisfaction in its supermarket operations ending the quarter at a healthy 81 percent, while online sales continued to grow, requiring the addition of two new customer fulfilment centres. Liquor stores, BWS and Dan Murphy’s also achieved strong returns with a revenue increase of 3.3 percent over the Easter period alone. According to Banducci, the retail group is satisfied with these figures.

“We are pleased with the progress we are continuing to make against our key priorities as we pivot from turnaround to transformation. We remain energised by the number of opportunities we see to continue to improve our business,” he said.

Moving forward, Woolworths Group is expected to continue developing its omnichannel strategy, as the company aims to bring Big W back up in-line with the rest of its key retail offerings.

“Our focus for the remainder of FY18 is on delivering consistently good shopping experiences across all stores and days of the week, embedding current strategic initiatives including ‘Simpler for Stores’ and continuing to improve our digital experience.”

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