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CE Distributors Set To Be Hit By 30+ Big W Store Closures

Landlords are already trying to flog the space set to become vacant when Woolworths announce later this week which of their 30 Big W stores they will close.

Shopping Centre management already have a good idea of which stores are set to be available to rent despite the hit list still being a closely guarded secret.

The stores posted a full-year loss of $110m for the 2018 fiscal year and a loss of $151m in 2017.

ChannelNews understands that attempts have been made to sell the ailing retail chain who recently moved to selling known consumer electronics and appliance brands over their traditional CE house branded products.

This year Big W has already recorded a loss of $8m for the first half of this year internally management believe things are “looking up” despite the Company forecasting another loss in 2019.

What’s not known is how well Woolworths big ‘Toy Sale’ went recently. In the past this has been a major driver of traffic to their stores.

According to the Australian the first Big W sites will now shut in January, and several shopping centre landlords in NSW and Victoria are concerned that the disappearance of Big W will dry up foot traffic to their shopping locations.

Leasing agents such as Jones Lang LaSalle have been engaged to sign up new retailers.

The agents have begun talks with national chains and while at this stage no leases have been signed, the documentation is in train to ensure a smooth transition as the Big W stores close and vacant spaces begin opening up in regional shopping centres according to the Australian.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said that the 30 stores will be closed over a three-year period.

The Australian has claimed that one letter from a shopping centre manager alerted staff that its Big W store was to be shut within six months but that new tenants were being lined up to protect foot traffic in the centre.

Last night a Big W spokesman said that no leases had been signed for the Big W stores being shut down.

The move to close stores is set to impact several CE distributors such as Laser Corporation, Tempo and Ayonz.

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