Australia Markets close in 2 hrs 18 mins

CONFIRMED: Big W to close 30 stores

One third of Big W stores could be forced to close

After weeks of speculation, Big W has confirmed it will close 30 stores over the next three years.

Two distribution centres in Monarto South Australian and Warwick Queensland will also close doors.

Big W parent company, Woolworths Group made the announcement this morning, with CEO Brad Banducci saying some Big W stores were taking too long to turn a profit.

The store closures will make up around 16 per cent of Big W’s network.

“As foreshadowed at our half year 2019 results, while the recovery in trading for BIG W is encouraging and there remains further opportunity for improvement, the speed of conversion to earnings improvement is taking longer than planned,” he said.

“We understand the impact that the store and distribution centre closures will have on our team and will endeavour to provide affected team members with alternative employment options within the Woolworths Group where possible.”

He said the decision will make Big W “more robust and sustainable” and the new network will also better reflect the “rapidly changing retail environment”.

“It will accelerate our turnaround plan through a more profitable store network, simplifying current business processes, improving stock flow and lowering inventory.”

Big W said it can not name the affected stores due to ongoing talks with landlords, with all stores to trade as normal until more information is released.

Big W expects to make a loss of $80-$100 million in the 2019 financial year before interest and tax, following a loss of $110 million in the 2018 financial years.

The announcement comes just weeks after a report from Macquarie Wealth Management warned that Big W would need to close 60 stores to become profitable in the future.

Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, property and tech news.