Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tap into Melbourne’s twilight trade

City of Melbourne retailers should respond to changing consumer behaviour by extending core trading hours, creating a link between the daytime and night-time economy a new report by Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has found.

Commissioned by the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government, the ARA report reveals a strong demand amongst customers wanting to shop after businesses have closed their doors.

The highest discrepancy between foot traffic and trading hours was on Friday from 7pm to 9pm, Saturday evenings between 5pm and 9pm, and Monday to Wednesday evenings from 5pm to 7pm.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says a shift in pedestrian foot traffic creates a compelling case for change to encourage more retailers to trade after 5pm.

“The research we’ve done clearly defines a shift in consumer behaviour, meaning there is now more unmet demand for retailers after work than before work,” he said.

More than half of retailers surveyed supported a change to core trading hours – which would see retailers open for business from 10am to 7pm Sunday to Wednesday, and 10am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday.

“From our research, we see strong levels of support for Twilight Trade, but we also see some reluctance for individual retailers to extend hours in isolation,” Mr Zahra says.

“That is why we have done this research – to give retailers some confidence about extending their core trading hours. And that’s why we are taking a leadership role in convincing more retailers to come on board.”

The ARA will run a series of information sessions through April 2024 to talk to retailers about the case for change and encourage more retailers to adopt twilight trading hours.

Businesses will also be supported by a marketing campaign targeting city visitors and students. The Twilight Trade initiative will shine a spotlight on local and major retailers trading after 5pm – bolstering the city’s after-hours appeal. It is supported by the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund – a $200 million partnership between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp AO Melbourne’s twilight economy is booming, with foot traffic increasing in the city by up to 35 per cent after 6pm.

“We’re encouraging city retailers to take full advantage of this change in consumer behaviour – shifting their opening hours to reflect when city visitors want to shop,” she says.

The ARA’s report, along with more information for consumers and businesses, is available at retail.org.au/twilight-trade.

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