(Australian Associated Press)
Mothers shop for their kids and home first, then their pets and partners, and if there’s any money left they might treat themselves.
This is the customer insight BIG W’s new boss David Walker says will form the basis of his turnaround plan for the loss-making discount department store.
BIG W is the Woolworths Group’s troubled child after its losses widened to $150.5 million in the 2016/17 financial year, from the prior year’s $14.9 million loss.
The retailer’s newly installed managing director says he has a clear turnaround plan after talking to more than 5,000 customers and 19,000 staff.
It starts with structuring the group’s products, store layout and promotions around BIG W’s most frequent shoppers – mums.
“What she told us is that when she comes into our stores she wants to buy for her kids and her home,” Mr Walker said.
“When she’s in our store, she looks to buy something for her pet and partner and only at the end – and if the price is right and the quality is right – she will treat herself.”
He said it will take some time to revamp the group’s 185 stores, and could take years to return BIG W to profitability.
The business has also made small steps in reducing its product range.
Big W once stocked 14 spoons across eight brands, and now has eight spoons from four brands.
Mr Walker said customers don’t always want “cheap and cheerful” and liked to buy dearer products that had more features or better quality.
He has been Big W managing director since May after acting in the role for several months after the surprise resignation of Sally Macdonald in November.
Ms Macdonald, the former Oroton chief executive credited with turning around the luxury handbag retailer, quit after less than a year in the job.