Economy

National retailers headache over Easter hours

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The Australian Retailers Association has urged the Federal Government to take the lead in deregulating Easter trading hours across the nation.

The retail body claims that ambiguous and inconsistent state laws are hurting national chains, franchises and consumers.

ARA executive director Richard Evans has praised the deregulated trading laws in the ACT and Tasmania as giving choice to traders and shoppers alike.

He argues the chaos of the current laws is adding to the cost of doing business and ultimately to the prices consumers pay.

“The range of complex trading laws across the country makes it difficult for national retail chains, franchises and department stores by adding to the complexity of sorting out rosters, wages, budgets, penalty rates and stock levels,” says Evans.

The ACT will have no trading restrictions over the upcoming long Easter weekend. Western Australia has Australia’s most stringent trading laws and retailers will only be open for Easter Saturday.

“What you have in Perth is this great capital city, with 1950s legislation,” says Evans.

However not the entire retail community agrees with such deregulation. John Cummings from the WA Independent Grocers Association believes such trading laws would be unworkable and put strain on smaller independent retailers.

“When Victoria changed their trading hours, independent grocers lost 5% market share to Woolworths and Coles in the first year. That’s equivalent to $300 million,” argues Cummings. He also ascribes the high grocery prices of the Sydney CBD to the dominance of big chains over independent grocers.

WA Premier Alan Carpenter has pledged to deregulate trading hours if his Government is returned.

Australian Easter trading hours

New South Wales

  • Good Friday – General shops required to close (except for Sydney CBD, The Newcastle CBD, Cabramatta and selected tourist areas).
  • Easter Saturday – Trading permitted.
  • Easter Sunday – General shops required to close (except for Sydney CBD, The Newcastle CBD, Cabramatta and the Section 89B tourist areas).
  • Easter Monday – Trading permitted.

Victoria

  • Good Friday – Required to close.
  • Easter Saturday – Trading permitted.
  • Easter Sunday – Required to close (for a list of shops outside of Melbourne permitted to trade visit www.business.vic.gov.au and following the link to Victorian Public Holidays and Shop Trading Hours on the home page).
  • Easter Monday – Trading permitted.

Queensland

  • Good Friday – Non-exempt shops required to close.
  • Easter Saturday – Non-exempt shops in South East Queensland (SEQ) trading hours zone are permitted to trade (8:00am – 6:00pm). Non-exempt shops in tourist areas outside SEQ are permitted to trade (8:30am to 5:30pm). Non-exempt shops in the rest of Queensland are permitted to trade (8:00am to 5:00pm).
  • Easter Sunday – Non-exempt shops required to close (except those tourist areas outside SEQ).
  • Easter Monday – Non-exempt shops in SEQ are permitted to trade (9:00am – 6:00pm). Non-exempt shops in the tourist areas outside SEQ are permitted to trade (8:30am – 5:30pm). Non-exempt shops in the rest of the state are required to close.

South Australia

  • Good Friday – Non-exempt shops required to close (Adelaide suburbs and CBD).
  • Easter Saturday – All shops in Adelaide are permitted to trade until 5:00pm.
  • Easter Sunday – Non-exempt shops required to close (Adelaide suburbs and CBD).
  • Easter Monday – Non-exempt shops required to close (Adelaide suburbs and CBD).

Western Australia

  • Good Friday – General retail shops required to close.
  • Easter Saturday – Trading permitted.
  • Easter Sunday – General retail shops do not normally trade.
  • Easter Monday – General retail shops required to close (except for Perth and Fremantle tourism precincts).

Tasmania

  • Good Friday – Required to close.
  • Easter Saturday – Trading permitted.
  • Easter Sunday – Trading permitted.
  • Easter Monday – Trading permitted.

Australian Capital Territory

There are no trading restrictions over the Easter period.

Note: General shops (WA and NSW) and non-exempt shops (Qld, Vic and SA) include most national retailers, supermarkets, discount department stores, department stores and national chains. Source: ARA.

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