The giant Big W sign is a feature of shopping centers across the country, but we still do not know what W really stands for.
Tick tocker Toby Rosario has sparked a new round of curiosity about the origin of the discount retailer’s name with the video that has been liked more than 57,000 times.
The Video Asking what Big W stands for, Google shows him up before the search, and declares that he was shocked to find W representing Woolworths. “What? My life is a lie,” he declares.
A senior W spokesman confirmed to news.com.au that W represents the close relationship between Woolworths and the Big W stores we know today.
“The name was coined in 1964 with the opening of the first Big W at the Jesmond Shopping Center in Newcastle,” a spokesman told news.com.au.
“This is the first shopping center that Woolworths have created and developed themselves, a reflection of the close relationship with the Big W name brand Woolworths supermarkets.”
Related: What does ‘Q’ in smart mean
The original Big W stores were department stores like Myrrh and reflected the Woolworths base in general business.
The company still had several hundred ‘Variety’ stores – the “original” Woolworth stores – in 1964, which had a larger revenue than the still growing supermarket segment, and were the company’s flagship.
“So Big W was really like a big Woolworths – traditional Variety stores,” the spokesman said.
In the 1970s, the Big W name ceased to be used, and the shops became known as the Woolworths Family Centers, which had “a large range of public goods and a supermarket food range”.
“These stores were eventually transformed into large supermarkets in the 1980s,” he told news.com.au.
The Big W name was resurrected in 1976 with a new store in Tomworth, the first Big W discount department store to open, featuring a highly successful discount department store design.
‘K’ in KMART and more
The big red ‘K’ in the smart, a brand name that was a trademark in 1969, obviously didn’t stand for anything. But Kay died in 1966 to its founder, Mr Greske, three years before the first smart opened in Australia.
H&M, the global fastest fashion powerhouse to appear in Sweden, derives its original store name from Hennessy, meaning “she” in Swedish. At the time, the retailer only had women’s clothing.
Two decades later, Heinz bought men’s clothing Moritz Whitforce. That is how Haynes and Moritz, or H&M, was born.
J.P. Hi-Fi was founded in 1974 by John Barbuto, who named his first store in Melbourne with his first letters.
ASOS stands for AsSeenOnScreen, a British e-commerce fashion retailer. The idea came about by appearing to everyday shoppers who see celebrities wearing on screen.
BWS stands for Pierce, Wines and Spirits, while the health insurer BUPA, pronounced “boo-boo”, refers to the less attractive British United Provident Association.