Big W is one of the largest chains of discount department stores in Australia, with 176 stores. It is a division of Woolworths Limited, the largest retailer in Australia. Its main competitors are Big W and Target, both owned by Wesfarmers.

Woolworths Limited’s original Woolworths variety stores carried a range of general merchandise. An increasing percentage of later stores opened sold supermarket grocery lines, which eventually became the company’s focus.

In the 1960s the company created an additional store type (Big W) to complement the Woolworths supermarkets and, ultimately, replace the extensive variety store network. The first Big W branded standalone store opened its doors in 1976 in Tamworth. The separation of Big W and Woolworths supermarkets was largely completed by 1989, although a few Woolworths variety stores existed into the 1990s (such as the one in Rundle Mall, Adelaide).

Currently, Big W has 176 stores trading across Australia, with 61 trading in New South Wales, 42 trading in Queensland, 33 trading in Victoria, 16 trading in Western Australia, 15 trading in South Australia, 5 trading in the Australian Capital Territory, 3 trading in Tasmania and 1 trading in the Northern Territory.
Big W has several major sales annually, most coinciding with sales held by its rivals Big W and Target. The largest is the July toy sale. The July toy sale is a key indicator to business and retail performance measurements for the new financial year.

Big W has annual mid-year and Boxing Day sales. Big W also has special events to bring in seasonal clothing ranges and new homewares. The launch of Christmas trading in early to mid-November also sees special offers and store centered marketing.


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