BIG W suppliers say the discount department store chain is "out of control" after the loss of dozens of buyers and have called on the Woolworths board to intervene.

Suppliers say contracts and intentions to purchase are being pulled without notice and without explanation, leaving suppliers holding millions of dollars of stock in warehouses or in transit from Asia.

Some suppliers have been forced to lay off staff, while staff morale within BIG W has plunged following the loss of almost 100 jobs in buying and e-commerce.

Suppliers say BIG W chief executive Sally Macdonald, who took the helm in January, has yet to articulate her turnaround plan or strategy to suppliers, leaving many long-term suppliers unsure whether they had a future with the chain.

"This is so out of control," said one supplier, who declined to be named for fear of losing his remaining business.

Suppliers in dark

"They have kept everyone in the dark and kept suppliers in the dark," he said. "We still supply them but in some categories there is no buyer."

One source contrasted BIG W's approach with that of new Target boss Guy Russo, who met with more than 600 suppliers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Thursday.

Mr Russo described in detail his plans to turn around the ailing chain by slashing costs, prices and the number of products, sourcing more products directly from Asia rather than through wholesalers and merchants, and stocking "365 basics" or goods that families buy every day.

"Guy has a vision and he's sharing that with suppliers," said the source, who attended the Target presentation.

"He's been totally open with suppliers. We may lose our business with Target but at least we will know why," he said. "Sally has kept everyone in the dark and people have to second guess what will happen."

Redundancy program

"Products that bring in millions of dollars in sales are being cut if they don't suit Sally's vision," he said, describing plans to scale back BIG W's successful party goods range and licensed apparel.

Sources also criticised the redundancy program at BIG W, comparing it unfavourably with that at Target, which has shed 240 jobs from its Geelong head office.

"There have been retrenchments from Target but they have been handled properly – that's not the case with BIG W," one source said.

BIG W staff have been offered counselling after the death last Thursday of a popular senior buyer a month after he took redundancy. His funeral will be held this week.

A BIG W spokeswoman rejected suggestions that suppliers and staff were being left in the dark over the new strategy, which is aimed at restoring BIG W to profitability by cutting costs, sourcing at least 50 per cent of stock directly from Asia, reducing prices, and transforming BIG W into a product and design led retailer.

"Sally has and will continue to meet with BIG W suppliers. They are important partners in our business," the spokeswoman said.

Rejuvenated design team

"We are making some adjustments (to staff) to make sure we have the right team choosing the right product for our customers," she said.

"While buyer numbers have been reduced and some buyerships have been consolidated, we are recruiting more than 30 new designers across fashion, industrial, graphic and digital to form a centralised and rejuvenated design team."

Ms Macdonald, the former chief executive of Oroton, has hired several Oroton executives, including former creative director Ana Maria Escobar to the new role of general manager creative and former Oroton head of buying Gareth Costello as general manager buying at BIG W.

BIG W's earnings fell 39 per cent to $67.3 million in the December half and Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci warned last month that the chain would report a full-year loss, its first since the 1990s, after plunging at least $70 million into the red in the June half.

Woolworths' major shareholders, including Perpetual Investments, believe Big W should be sold or demerged to free up capital and enable Woolworths to focus on fixing food and liquor.

Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns wants to rebuild BIG W to give Woolworths more options down the track, but would-be buyers have already started circling. There were unconfirmed reports last week that South African retailer Steinhoff International, which owns rival chains Harris Scarfe and Best & Less, was interested in BIG W.Read more at:sexy formal dresses | marieaustralia