UNDER PRESSURE: Woolworths has announced plans to close 30 Big W stores across Australia over the next three years - but Gympie may be spared.
UNDER PRESSURE: Woolworths has announced plans to close 30 Big W stores across Australia over the next three years - but Gympie may be spared. Rob Wright

Gympie's Big W fate remains a mystery

THE good news for Gympie region shoppers and retail employees is that Gympie's Big W store is not among 30 Big W outlets allegedly slated for possible closure on a nationally published list.

The bad news is that Woolworths says that does not mean anything.

A spokeswoman said the list of allegedly 'at risk' Big Ws was first published in a family magazine and had gained traction in other media.

But it had nothing to do with Woolworths Group, she said.

The company has officially confirmed that it will close "approximately 30 Big W stores over the next three years" across Australia.

But the timing of individual announcements will be subject to ongoing talks with landlords and affected employees.

Queensland Big W stores said to be in doubt on the widely published but unofficial list are Dalby, Gladstone, North Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Emerald and Warwick.

A firm "no comment" was the only response available in Gympie yesterday.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci told the Australian Securities Exchange of an encouraging recovery in trading for its Big W network.

However, he said this had taken "longer than planned" to show up as improved earnings for shareholders.