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Retailer loses Sunday trading battle in WA

HARVEY Norman has, for the time being, lost its battle for Sunday trading in WA but could possibly open its doors on a Sunday under a Liberal Government.

The Liberal Party’s retail trading policy includes lifting the number of floor people allowed in a retail store at any one time from 10 to 20 which, according to Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey, would allow them to open.

“Most of our stores could open, yes,” Mr Harvey said.

“But that (policy) went out years ago, that existed years ago and is not the way forward.”

Mr Harvey said opening last weekend was a success and its Osborne Park and Joondalup stores traded better than its City West store, which is legally entitled to open every Sunday.

“All of them had the biggest day they’ve ever had, well it wasn’t the biggest at a few stores but it was still good,” Mr Harvey said.

Mr Harvey agreed that its end of financial year sale made an impact on the numbers of people visiting the stores.

“It wouldn’t be like that every Sunday but it is the biggest trading day of the week in most of our stores,” he said.

He said he did not employ people counters last weekend and would not release sales figures for each store.

“All we have to do is say to the Government is that they had their representatives out in our stores, some with cameras, they know how many people were there,” Mr Harvey said.

Amid the hype of the debate there was major advertising by both supporters and opponents of deregulation but Mr Harvey said his company had not participated significantly in that except to highlight its Sunday trading plans.

 “We’ve put some ads in but we haven’t had to do much, the media coverage was enough,” Mr Harvey said.

“We put some ads in because the media have been supporting us.”

Media lawyer Stephen Edwards said that in his view it was not an offence for the media to publish advertisements of trading which might be illegal.

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