Woolworths has confirmed it will take a $370 million hit this year as it closes thirty Big W discount stores.

The supermarket giant said it would need to pay $270 million in lease and exit costs as it closes 16% of its stores.

“As foreshadowed at our half year 2019 results, while the recovery in trading for Big W is encouraging and there remains a further opportunity for improvement, the speed of conversion to earnings improvement is taking longer than planned,” Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said in a trading update.

“This decision will lead to a more robust and sustainable store and DC network that better reflects the rapidly changing retail environment. It will accelerate our turnaround plan through a more profitable store network, simplifying current business processes, improving stock flow and lowering inventory.”

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