Woolworths rejects rumour it will sell Big W

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd October 2014
Woolworths rejects rumour it will sell Big W
Woolworths rejects rumour it will sell Big W

Australian supermarket giant Woolworths has rejected reports that it is considering selling its department store chain Big W.

The Australian newspaper had reported that Woolworths was in talks with investment banks about options for its discount department store chain, but Woolworths said it has “no plans to sell Big W” and that the report was incorrect.

“Our general merchandise businesses, BIG W and EziBuy, are important to delivering our strategy to drive growth by giving customers access to Australasia’s best multi-option apparel and general merchandise offer,” Woolworths said in a statement.

The newspaper report said sources claimed Woolworths was considering several options, including a stock market listing for Big W, or selling it to a private equity outfit.

Australian Food News reported in September 2014 that Woolworths had reported earnings from Big W were down nearly 19 per cent on the previous year. Despite the losses with Big W and hardware chain Masters, Woolworths reported net profits of $2.45 billion for the year to June 30 2014, up 8.5 per cent from $2.26 billion a year earlier.

Earlier in October 2014, Australian Food News reported that Woolworths looked set to move into the growing convenience sector, with media reports that the supermarket giant was taking on smaller corner stores in capital cities around the country. According to the reports, the trigger has been the increase in city-based population and the conversion of office blocks to apartments where space is not available for traditional supermarkets.