While Perth, Western Australia retailers were granted permission to open from 7:00am under extended Christmas shopping hours, WA Independent Grocers and the Independent Retailers Organisation say the independents will lose sales to the national chain retailers and face extra costs.
The new rule follows a submission to the state government by the WA Chamber of Commerce calling for retailers to be allowed to open from 6:00am to 9:00pm on weekdays and 8:00am to 8:00pm on public holidays.
WA Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the 7:00am opening would apply from Monday to Saturday, beginning on December 5, while city stores would open from 8:00am on Sundays, according to ABC News.
Closing times had been extended to 6:00pm on Saturday and Sundays and 9:00pm on all other days.
“The 53 extra trading hours in December and January will allow Perth shops large and small to better meet the greater consumer demand and compete more effectively with their online counterparts,” he said.
Mr Mischin said extended Christmas trading was consistent with the State Government’s policy of testing the gradual and incremental easing of retail trading restrictions.
“This is not a precursor to extending Sunday trading generally,” he said.
The WA Chamber of Commerce chief executive Deidre Willmott said a recent survey suggested consumers support deregulation of Christmas trading hours. “It should be a matter for retailers to decide and for consumers to vote with their feet,” she said.
However, Bob Stanton of the Independent Retailers Organisation said that independents would need to make additional sales of between $20,000 and $30,000 a week to cover the extra costs of running their businesses, while many may have to close their doors early.