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Values, shops threatened

THE City of Perth anticipates a sharp decline in property values as a consequence of retail trading hours deregulation.

Its opinion is voiced strongly in its submission on retail trading hours to the State Government.

Conversely, retail hours deregulation advocate Woolworths, states in its submission that $20 million of $120 million in proposed new developments over the next two years will take place earlier if the Government significantly changes retail trading hours.

Woolworths regional manager Len de Nooyer said that about $5 million of this would not occur if trading hours were not deregulated.

He said the proposed developments included supermarkets, Big W stores, and the first of several Dick Smith Powerhouse stores.

“We will put in a couple of Big W stores in marginal areas and put in the Dick Smith Powerhouses, which are very successful on the east coast. They are like the Myer Mega-mart but filled with electronics and they only work in seven-day trading,” Mr de Nooyer said.

“The supermarkets and Big W’s may well happen but that would be in five to 10 years.

“It is highly unlikely that the Dick Smith Powerhouse business would come here [without trading hours change].”

He said the Dick Smith Powerhouses accounted for about $5 million in development.

In its submission the City of Perth says it will be adversely affected by deregulated trading hours, which could potentially decimate its Sunday trade.

As a major destination for tourists and metropolitan residents the City argues that any erosion of its seven-day trading would threaten the viability of the Perth retail economy and property values.

Most industry pundits agree the complete deregulation of retail hours will have an impact on the ability of city-based retail business to pay premium rent in the short-term and could potentially increase vacancies.

However, some property analysts believe that the city will rebound in the long-term.

Lease Equity director Jim Tsagalis said that Sunday trading was reasonably significant for city retailers and competition from regional shop-ping centres would harm the Perth retail economy.

Mr Tsagalis said subsequent infrastructure – planned and completed – in the city, including the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, David Jones, residential developments, the Woodside building and the proposed sinking of the railway, would help to enhance the city and benefit retailers.

“There may be a short-term adjustment, the city may diminish slightly but I think in the long-term the trend will continue to go up.”

Mr Tsagalis said the city could compete with regional shopping centres because it provided a different visitor experience.

Proprietor of four Perth city souvenir shops David Wartzki said retail hours change would have little effect on tourism businesses but hurt general retail.

“The number of shops open in the city will decrease especially in the fringe stores and arcades,” he said.

“There will be a snowball effect. Closed doors are the worst thing to see.”

Colliers International research manager David Cresp said the Perth CBD would be a net loser to some degree if retail hours were deregulated.

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