CLOSING DOWN? A question mark is hanging over the future of Hervey Bay and Maryborough's Big W stores.
CLOSING DOWN? A question mark is hanging over the future of Hervey Bay and Maryborough's Big W stores. Rob Williams

Question mark over future of Fraser Coast Big W outlets

A QUESTION mark remains over the future of the Fraser Coast's Big W outlets.

A spokeswoman from Woolworths Group said no decisions had been made as to which stores would be shut down after an announcement was made confirming about 30 Big W outlets across Australia would close over the next three years.

"We will also close two distribution centres at the end of their leases," she said.

A list currently in circulation purporting to name the stores that would be closed was pure speculation, the spokeswoman said.

Neither Fraser Coast store was on the list that was circulated by New Idea last month.

She said every effort was being made to make the announcement in a timely manner so employees weren't left in suspense over the coming closures.

The spokeswoman said it was important to emphasise that a national review of the 183 outlets Australia-wide was being undertaken and it wasn't just regional stores that were being targeted for closure.

"We understand the announcement, without confirmation of specific stores, will create some uncertainty for our teams and the communities in which we operate, particularly in regional areas," she said.

"This review has never been focused solely on our regional stores but our entire network.

"Details of store closure locations will not be released due to ongoing discussions with landlords.

"In the interim all BIG W stores will continue to trade as normal.

"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."

The number of stores to be closed represents about 16 per cent of the total number of Big W outlets in the nation.

While promising, a recent increase of about six per cent in the company's sales momentum did not meet the expected profit improvement.

Big W is expected to report a loss of between $80 and $100million this financial year, following on from a loss of $110million in the previous financial year.

The impending closure of the Big W outlets comes on top of last year's collapse of of Toys R' Us, chocolate shop Max Brenner and menswear business Roger David.



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