And while Macquarie didn’t specifically name which Big W stores would be affected by the possible closures, it did say that regional areas could be hit hardest.
‘It is unlikely these locations will enable Big W to regain the momentum required for profitability,’ Macquarie said.
‘In a challenging retail environment, we see a reduction in store count as the most likely outcome from the review. Given the format of Big W stores, we believe it would be difficult to reduce space as Myer is doing and that outright store closure is more likely.’
At present, there are around 30 stores located in rural and regional areas around Australia - leading local papers to question whether the Big Ws situated in their specific areas will be affected.
Said regional NSW paper the Daily Liberal: ‘Dubbo could soon be without Big W if a review finds the poor performing retail chain would be better off shutting up shop in the city.’
Added NSW’s Central Western Daily paper: ‘Could it be lights out for Big W in Orange?’
In NSW, the regional and rural stores include Inverell, Armidale, Tamworth, Cessnock, Mudgee and Katoomba. In Queensland, Dalby, Yeppon, Emerald and Warwick could be under review - as could Wangaratta, Bendigo and Echuca in Victoria.
To see the full list of regional stores that could be closing down, see below.
At present, Big W bosses say a final decision on store closures has not been made.
Says a spokesperson: ‘At our half-year results in February we announced a national review of our Big W store and distribution centre network.
‘The review is ongoing and no decisions about our network have been made. We will update our team members and the market once the review has been completed.’
THE 30 REGIONAL STORES AT RISK
North Rockhampton, QLD
Tweed Head, NSW
Port Augusta, SA