Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Retailers call for nationally consistent trading hours

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is calling on the Queensland, South Australian and Western Australian governments to modernise their approach to trading hours for physical stores to create a more “flexible, safer, competitive and customer-friendly” retail environment.

The ARA is also calling on these three jurisdictions to follow the lead of states that have embraced deregulated trading hours like NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

“Customers expect to shop where and when they like – and they expect the same convenience in physical stores as they get online. The settings in the three states that have yet to deregulate are restrictive and don’t reflect the 24-hour retail economy we see around the world,” says ARA CEO Paul Zahra.

“This is a significant disadvantage to retailers within those states. It inhibits their ability to maximise sales at a time when higher costs of doing business and higher levels of debt are creating significant pressure, particularly for small business.

“These issues are most evident as we head into the all-important Christmas trading period when many discretionary retailers make up to two-thirds of their profits. Customers and retailers in Queensland, SA and WA are worse-off because of the highly regulated nature of trading hours in these three states.

“Shopping is no longer confined to brick-and-mortar stores with set trading hours. Consumers now expect convenience, choice and the ability to shop when it suits them. They also expect to shop the sales like Black Friday without the pressure of limited opening hours. It’s time for state governments to recognise that the world of retail has transformed.”

The ARA believes deregulating trading hours will benefit customers, retailers, government and the national economy.

“Differing shop trading hours between states is confusing and unnecessary. We urge Queensland, Western Australian and South Australian governments to reconsider their approach and embrace a more competitive, flexible, and consumer-centric retail environment,” says Mr Zahra.

The ARA has an online resource which is updated regularly to help members navigate the state-by-state regulations for trading hours.

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