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EXCLUSIVE: Major Management Makeover At Woolworths Owned Big W

A major shakeup has been announced by struggling retailer Big W with the appointment of several new senior managers, for what what has been described as the implementation of new customer “Universes” which consist of ‘About Kids’, About Leisure’ ‘About Home’ and ‘About Everyday & Seasonal’.

In a leaked email Teresa Rendo the General Manager of Commercial at the Woolworths owned Company said that a new Head of Commercial role has been created for each Big W Universe and these individuals will be responsible for developing and driving their respective customer strategies.

She announced that Shane Carter has been appointed Head of Commercial, About Leisure.

He has over 20 years’ experience in retail and most recently as BIG W’s Head Of Buying – Toys, Sport, Party, DIY & Consumables.

He previously worked for Super Retail Group and Aldi and will start his new role on 4 August 2017.

Scott White, Head of Buying for Entertainment products, will not be returning to Big W after going on Annual leave.

Jo Nix has been appointed Head of Commercial, About Kids.

She has more than 25 years’ experience in retail and worked for BIG W from 1990 to 2016.

She joins Big W from Specialty Fashion Group where she was Head of Product for Rivers and has significant experience leading large, diverse teams claims Rendo.

Jo will join Big W on the 17th July and undertake a two week induction before commencing her role on 4 August 2017.

Amanda Lunn has been appointed Head of Commercial, About Everyday & Seasonal.

She has over 20 years’ retail experience in commercial and sourcing functions in the U.K., Asia and Australia.

She has most recently worked for Woolworths in Food Group as Merchandise Manager, General Merchandise and Hong Kong Sourcing and has previously worked for Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Amanda will join Big W 4 August 2017.

Rendo told suppliers “We have confirmed an external candidate as our new Head of Commercial, About Home and will share details on this appointment with you soon. We are still in the process of recruiting for the Head of Commercial, About Him / Her role and in the interim, Matt Robertson will oversee this part of the business until he leaves us in early August to pursue other opportunities”.

She said “The Universes are designed to put the customer back at the heart of our decision making and the re-alignment is designed to reflect those Universes and to ensure that we provide a seamless customer experience across all Universe touch points”.

Senior management has claimed that to turn around BIG W the Company needs widen its options – “We need momentum to get optionality in the business.” Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said.

Back in May Woolworths signed off on a new strategy for BIG W the third in four years.

The new management team is being led by David Walker, who took the helm on an interim basis from Sally Macdonald who was dumped by Woolworths after failing to deliver an upturn in profits.

Earlier this year Big W reported a 5.7 per cent fall in same-store sales in the March quarter.

What the Company wants to do is use the new management team to stop losses blowing out to more than $160 million this year.

While the BIG W brand still resonated with consumers, Mr Banducci said the 186-store chain needed to restore trust in prices, improve merchandising and in-store experience and better manage categories.

The Financial Review said recently that investors believe Woolworths would be better off without BIG W, where sales have fallen in 17 of the last 18 quarters. However, Woolworths would struggle to find a buyer while BIG W was bleeding cash, while onerous lease liabilities prevented Woolworths from pulling the plug.

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