Big W to get Kmart-style overhaul of image 16

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Big W is one of the more humble players in the discount retailer game. They have struggled for years to stand out and compete against industry leader Kmart, and businesses with similar models like Target. But now, the chain has had enough and has made some drastic changes in the lead-up to a rebrand of their ailing stores.

Big W CEO Sally Macdonalds has slashed staff from head office to significantly reduce costs, boost earnings and fast-track Big W’s shift towards becoming a product-and-design-led retailer, reports SMH.

Ms Macdonald sacked about 40 buyers and assistant buyers from Big W’s head office last week, and has already made changes to overseas sourcing.

In the past, this is where Kmart started around 8 years ago when Guy Russo took over as CEO. He changes their buying strategy, cut the crap, and delivered on their promise to sell quality goods at an everyday low price. And it’s worked.

Ms Macdonald said “necessary team adjustments have been made across our business to ensure we are choosing and creating the best brands and products for our customers.”

“While buyer numbers have been reduced and some buyerships have been consolidated, we are in the process of recruiting more than 30 new designers across fashion, industrial, graphic and digital to form a centralised and rejuvenated design team,” Ms Macdonald told Fairfax media.

Ms Macdonald, who has been at the top of Big W since January, is aiming to overhaul the Big W brand and increase sales growth by improving the product range and making the store look and feel great.

The CEO was formerly the head of chic fashion brand Oroton and has now appointed her former head designer as general manager of creative, which includes design, marketing and online.

Ms Macdonald said it will be at least six to 12 months before most of the new products reach stores.

The changes come after Big W’s earnings fell 39 per cent to $67.3 million in the December half and Mr Banducci warned this month that the chain would report a full-year loss, its first since the 1990s.

This should be welcome news for customers of the stores – Big W is in rural locations across the country.

Tell us, are you looking forward to see Big W change? How could they improve?

 

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  1. As long as the new merchandise pricing is in competition with Kmart and not unaffordable, it will be a welcome change…….

    1 REPLY
    • So true …….Unless they start knocking out the middle man and purchasing large effordable units, big w will never be able match pricing with out losing profit.
      If a company can axe 40 jobs must of had some pointless roles to begin with. I believe that they are looking in the wrong place to start with.

  2. Hopefully it will present better – I was a real fan of Big W but they really lost it – almost looked like St Vinnies – clothes were all creased up look dreadful hanging like that – Would be nice if we made clothes for Australian women – I just purchased clothes from England and they fit – I am an older woman a little plump and can never find clothes to fit – everything is made slim and long and not everyone is that shape – I know I will be going back to the net to shop – so come on Aussies give us something worthwhile – not a pile of junk.

    2 REPLY
    • Your not wrong there Irene. I’m an older, larger woman and short, but like fashion. Big W clothes for larger sizes have never been great but have got worse the past 2 years. Anyone with an ounce of sense could make billions with a little thought. There are more baby boomers out there and we’re young at heart. I don’t want to dress like an old woman, even though I’m 70. . I don’t want tops that reach my knees, nor slacks/jeans a foot too long, with wide hips & bottoms. I’m only 5ft so I want slim fitting with stretch and style. Any store that can do this will get my money.

      1 REPLY
      • I’m with you Joy, I can’t find anything in the shops to suit me, everything is made for the young person in mind, over 60s don’t want to dress like matrons nor look like mutton dressed up as lamb. I have more luck in op shops than anywhere.

    • I agree completely. They had alot of stuff come in for their ‘normal’ sizes which would have transitioned beautifully into their larger sizes. Fat doesn’t mean frumpy. Too much bedazzling. They wouldn’t dream of making some of that stuff in a size 10 so DON’T make it in a 20. Their sizing also changed this year, very confusing.

  3. Yes I agree Big W has never quite been as good as Kmart the quality of their goods leave a lot to be desired T shirts stretch and go out of shape Kmart’s T shirts are cheap also last and wash .Target is the same so expensive how do they think people will buy from either one of them over Kmart .I and many other people I know spend a lot of money at Kmart’s for the main reason things are always priced right and there is always sale items to grab which means you can spend more with the savings from the sales,both the other stores have sale items that cost the same if not more than new items from Kmart

  4. I am, fortunately or unfortunately, a big man, who requires clothing in the XXL range, something which is largely lacking in ALL the majors like K-Mart, Target and Big W, so one of my hopes is that they, (Big W), when they modernize and restock will take this into consideration. And the same applies to Jacqui as well, she’s is by no means a skinny waif, wearing size 7 clothes, but even though she is only what I would call “large average”, ie 10 to 14, depending on the store, she often has difficulty finding something that will fit. Target especially have always been on the small size in their tailoring. It will be nice to see a new form of store layout too; K Mart have just done that in their Morwell branch and I am sure in their other stores as well, and it really feels good to go in there now, spacious and clean.

  5. To me this is a shame as I much prefer Big W and shop there in preference to K Mart. I prefer the merchandise, the range and the shop design. Ah well.

  6. their emerson range is mostly very plain, and over priced

  7. I really do not think you can please everyone – I would like to see nice linen shirts and good fitting pants across a GOOD size range. The clothing really needs a re vamp -. Retailers can learn a lot from the public why not survey in shop and get feed back , also swimwear is appalling this needs to be looked at also

  8. I can’t believe SOME of the comments that are been made in regards to clothing as I think over the years the womens clothing has improved alot the only thing I couldn’t find are the good old emerson pencil type skirts, for work or everyday wear the gha e these new type that are really thick & not as good as previous ones also Cardigans the nice dress type not the lo g ones they were a no show this year, could we please have them back!

  9. Some of the basic lines like bike shorts bengaline crop pants and shorts racing bathers basic button through gowns etc have not been in shops for a few seasons now. I think these are bread and butter lines. Sleepwear ladies is disgusting only a few gowns over mothers day then nothing. No nice basic nighties only tshirt ones with silly prints.
    Need a good catchy tv adv. Kmarts make you stop and look . Great tune.
    Stick needa to be on time in store when the cataloges come out.

  10. Some of the basic lines like bike shorts bengaline crop pants and shorts racing bathers basic button through gowns etc have not been in shops for a few seasons now. I think these are bread and butter lines. Sleepwear ladies is disgusting only a few gowns over mothers day then nothing. No nice basic nighties only tshirt ones with silly prints.
    Need a good catchy tv adv. Kmarts make you stop and look . Great tune.
    Stick needa to be on time in store when the cataloges come out.

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