A Brisbane Big W store has suddenly closed its doors in yet another hit to Australia’s flailing retail industry, with 70 staff to be deployed to other locations.
According to a Woolworths Group spokesman, the embattled Calamvale franchise of the discount superstore had “underperformed for some time”.
In a statement the company stressed the move was not related to the current pandemic, rather an ongoing review of Big W, adding that the immediate nature of the closure was due to the terms of the lease in the Calamvale shopping centre.
In a statement, a spokesperson said:“These decisions are never taken lightly, however as part of our ongoing network review, we need to monitor the future potential of each store and unfortunately this one has underperformed for some time.
“Under the terms of the lease at Calamvale, we’re obliged to cease trading immediately after giving notice to terminate.
“We regret the short notice it gives to our team and community.”
The store shutting its doors comes amid an ongoing review by Big W’s owner, Woolworths, which announced last year it intended to close 30 stores and two distribution centres.
In January, three Sydney stores were shut down as part of attempt to turn around an $85 million loss in the face of savage competition from the likes of Kmart and H&M.
The Auburn store, along with two others nearby in Chullora and Fairfield, were the first three to go, with the company’s bosses insisting at the time – a few short months before the pandemic hit – that the chain still has a future.
A statement released in January said some pruning of the Big W network would help “to accelerate the path to profitability”.
“We do not anticipate that any future store closures would be subject to such tight time frames,” today’s Woolworths statement assured.
“We are committed to doing the right thing by our team and will guarantee the redeployment of all current Calamvale team members to one of many neighbouring BIG W stores; whether they are full time, part time or casual.”
Woolworths Group is yet to name the remaining 26 branches that will close.
The sad news comes as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the Australian retail industry, with several iconic brands forced to close up shop as the country faces strict social distancing restrictions.