Woolworths to close 30 Big W stores

Over the next three years.

Woolworths Group has confirmed that approximately 30 Big W stores will close over the next three years and two distribution centres will close at the end of their leases, following a review of the business portfolio. This represents around 16% of the current store network.

The cost of exiting the stores will result in a profit and loss charge of circa $270 million mainly related to lease and other store exit costs.

The review also identified circa $100 million of non-cash asset impairments, reflecting a more conservative level of margin recovery expected from Big W, taking into account current trading and the outlook for the broader retail sector.

Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci said, “As foreshadowed at our half year 2019 results, while the recovery in trading for Big W is encouraging and there remains further opportunity for improvement, the speed of conversion to earnings improvement is taking longer than planned.

“We understand the impact that the store and DC closures will have on our team and will endeavour to provide affected team members with alternative employment options within the Woolworths Group where possible.

“This decision will lead to a more robust and sustainable store and DC network that better reflects the rapidly changing retail environment. It will accelerate our turnaround plan through a more profitable store network, simplifying current business processes, improving stock flow and lowering inventory.”

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