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Basmah Qazi

Discount store wars: Did Kmart kill BIG W?

Discount store wars: Did Kmart kill BIG W?

A retail expert has revealed the possible reason behind the shutting down of 30 BIG W stores around the country, saying that those in the industry expected double the number of doors to close.

David Kindl, chairman of Retail Doctor Group, said that Wesfarmers-owned Kmart has placed immense pressure on other discount department stores as they fail to keep up.

“Kmart has really created a point of difference for themselves – low cost, own brands, fun advertising and great product response,” Mr Kindl told 9Finance.

“Retailers like Kmart have moved along in the past 10 years and retailers like BIG W maybe haven’t,” he said.

According to Mr Kindl, experts believed the number of BIG W stores to shut down would be close to 60, and the fact that it was half that shows the company is still fighting to remain in the business.

“This will probably set them up to focus on their remaining 150 stores,” he said.

Woolworths announced on Monday that it will suffer a loss of $370 million after making the decision to close 30 BIG W stores and two distribution centres across Australia over the next three years.

While it is yet to be announced which stores will be affected, the company did confirm that the distribution centres in Monarto, South Australia and Warwick, Queensland will be shut down.

The question also remains as to how many jobs will be affected, however Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci, said that the business will try and provide alternate employment options where possible.

There are currently 186 BIG W stores around the country that have been operating for over 40 years.

Do you regularly shop at BIG W? Tell us in the comments below.