ACCC’s 10-year extension to the Casual Mall Licensing Code of Practice

The Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) have jointly welcomed the determination by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) to re-authorise the ‘Casual Mall Licensing Code of Practice’ for an additional 10 years, the longest extension since the Code’s inception in 2007.

SCCA Executive Director Angus Nardi said the ACCC’s 10-year extension was an endorsement of the Code’s effectiveness as a framework for enabling fair and balanced outcomes and its overall public benefit.

“The 10-year extension acknowledges the important role pop-up retail plays in shopping centres and celebrates the unified approach of retailers and landlords to enable dynamic and evolving offerings for consumers,” Mr Nardi said.

“We thank the ACCC for their courtesy and professionalism in engaging with us on this issue.”

The Code, which allows businesses to occupy space for a maximum of 180 days, often referred to as ‘pop-up’ stores, supports retailers with permanent space in shopping centres to increase their footprint during busy sales periods (e.g. Christmas), and offers incoming retailers and start-ups a cheap and effective point of entry to shopping centres, allowing them to benefit from the foot traffic through centres while gaining experience on a trial basis before taking up longer term leases.

NRA Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said the extension of the Code would be celebrated by the nation’s retailers who have enjoyed the successes of pop-up retailing:

“Since inception, the Casual Mall Licensing Code has played an important place in enabling retailers to expand their footprint during busy periods and act as a springboard for small businesses to access and test target markets with a lower cost and lower risk,” Ms Lamb said.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, pop-ups will continue to play an integral role in allowing start-up businesses to upscale into shopping centres, supporting the continued growth of the Australian retail sector”.

Former Victorian and Australian Small Business Commissioner, and Independent Chairman to the Casual Mall Licensing Code of Practice, Mark Brennan, has chaired the Code’s oversight committee since the last authorisation in 2017.

The committee includes representatives from the SCCA, National Retail Association, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Australian Retailers Association, National Online Retail Association and Restaurant and Caterers Association.

“The ACCC’s re-authorisation period of 10 years is a significant step in terms of reducing red tape and a testament to the enduring relevance and structure of the Code in ensuring prosperous and fair arrangements for both landlords and retailers.

“The ACCC has produced a constructive authorisation that recognises the rights of sitting tenants, facilitates business efficacy for landlords and shopping centre management and stimulates innovation for pop up retailers.

“As independent Chair, I have watched the Committee work productively and effectively in discussing and resolving contemporary issues,” Mr Brennan said.

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