Big W has seen its sales grow 15.3% to $2.7 billion in the half year to 31 December 2022 as trading returned to more normal levels after a period of temporary store closures in the prior year.

Earnings saw strong triple-digit growth of 437.5% to $134 million from $25 million in the first half of FY22. Growth in Q2 was buoyed by a strong performance in seasonal events including Halloween, Black Friday and Christmas.

A new Big W store opened in Q1 alongside a new Woolworths supermarket at Town Hall in Sydney, bringing the total store network to 177 at the end of the half. Sales per square metre increased 10.2% in the half reflecting the strong rolling 12-month sales growth.

Closing inventory ended the half marginally higher than the prior year due to inflation and cycling of lower inventory in the prior year amid lockdowns and shipping challenges.

Sales growth for the first seven weeks of the current half was strong at 9.7% but parent company, Woolworths, remains cautious about the impact of cost-of-living pressures on discretionary retail spend, although it believes Big W’s range and value proposition positions it well in the current environment.