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Woolworths Eyes Christmas For Big W Turnaround

Woolworths Chief Executive, Brad Banducci, asserts this Christmas is a “significant opportunity” for Big W to improve performance, despite being “early” in its turnaround journey.

“We see significant opportunity to continue to improve the performance of Big W as we enter the critical Christmas trading period,” Banducci remarked at Woolworths’ AGM.

Banducci has confirmed Big W’s turnaround is progressing “in line” with plans. It comes after the discount department store delivered its first positive year of sales growth since 2009, in fiscal year 2018.

Posting strong item growth, Big W post an improvement in gross margins during the second half, culminating in a F18 loss of $110 million.

It comes after Big W lowered over 4,500 prices, as it starts to invest in the in-store experience.

“We expect losses to moderate in F19 but note that we remain early in the journey to turn Big W around.”

During the year, Woolworths connected its Rewards program to Big W, which it claims “positively impacted” sales.

Concerning future outlook, Banducci asserts fiscal 2019 outlook is largely consistent with fiscal 2018.

He affirms there’s “enormous opportunities” to improve the business – opportunities it claims to be working hard to deliver.

The remarks follow Woolworths’ $1.72 billion sale of its petrol business, which some commentators claim will be used to invest in Big W growth, and improve performance.

The supermarket giant has continued to embrace online shopping, increasing its “click and collect” pick up points to 3,000, with a desire to increase digital capabilities.

The news comes after rival Wesfarmers announced the launch of its new data analytics centre, focused on improving shopping metrics via analytical assessment.

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