The Victorian Government’s decision to make Grand Final Friday a public holiday comes at a significant cost to businesses, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman says the instatement of a public holiday on Grand Final Friday places unnecessary burden on retailers and the Victorian economy in general.
“Businesses will be forced to pay higher than usual wages to operate their stores,” he said. “At the same time, Melbourne CBD businesses will more than likely experience lower foot traffic as a result of business closures … diminishing what was a peak sales period prior to 2015.”
Mr Zimmerman says retailers are faced with the difficult choice between remaining open and paying incredibly high penalty rates, or closing and losing sales.
This has been backed up by research from Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which shows that in 2015 significantly large numbers of small, metropolitan and regional businesses were severely impacted.
Ai Group found 71 per cent of businesses incurred additional labor costs, while 85 per cent of businesses closed, losing an otherwise valuable day of business.
“Feedback from our retailers indicates that a majority do not support the public holiday, and many operators simply plan not to open,” Mr Zimmerman said.