04/11/2010 - 00:00

Cometh the hours ...

04/11/2010 - 00:00


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THE state’s retail industry is waiting to gauge the success of new retail trading hours that started this week.

Cometh the hours ...

THE state’s retail industry is waiting to gauge the success of new retail trading hours that started this week.

From Monday November 1, all shops across the metropolitan area have had the option to trade until 9pm each weeknight.

Also from Monday, Armadale and Midland have become ‘special trading precincts’, meaning they can open on Sundays.

These changes have added to the already complex nature of Western Australia’s trading regulations.

The Retail Trading Hours Act 1987 divides shops into four categories, each reflecting what stores sell and when they are able to trade.

Petrol stations and small retailers with fewer than 13 staff working at any one time are able to open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Special retailers, selling a limited range of goods such as pharmaceuticals or hardware, are also able to open every day of the year, but only between the hours of 6am and 11:30pm.

All remaining retail stores are known as general retailers and from this week they can stay open until 9pm, but are not obliged to.

A report in The West Australian this week found that, that in 90 per cent of shopping centres surveyed, only the largest retailers will remain open until 9pm, with most smaller shops opting to close earlier.

At the Lakeside Joondalup Shopping Centre, which has had extended trading hours since September 5 this year, only Coles, Woolworths, Sisters Supa IGA, Target and Kmart take advantage of extended hours, with Big W and most smaller retailers choosing to close at 6pm.

Marking the beginning of city wide evening trade, Premier Colin Barnett said this week that business owners now had the freedom to respond to the particular needs of their customers.

With Midland and Armadale joining Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup as special trading precincts, the ranks of general retailers able to open on Sunday are swelling.

More retailers may soon be able to trade on Sunday, as the government investigates extending Sunday trading to whitegoods and other ‘durable consumer goods’.

Submissions on the government’s issues paper on extending trade closed this week, with the paper proposing to allow retailers of whitegoods and bulky goods to open on Sundays.

The paper defines bulky goods as long-lasting household items such as furniture and electrical equipment.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief executive James Pearson called on the government to introduce Sunday trading for all retailers.

“The success of Sunday trading in selected precincts is proof that there is overwhelming community support for greater choice, more convenience and lower prices at the checkout,” he said.

Other general retailers can get a taste of Sunday trading once extended Christmas hours come into effect on December 5.

From then, all stores can open on Sundays from 10am to 5pm through to the New Year, including Boxing Day.

Just to add more confusion to the mix, WA’s retail regulations are only enforceable below the 26th parallel, or south of Kalbarri, meaning stores in the north can choose when to open.

Regional communities in WA’s south are also given some autonomy over trading hours, particularly in coastal tourist hubs.



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