Trading hour restrictions must go with Amazon flow

With the Australian arrival of global online retail juggernaut Amazon impending there’s never been a more important time to fix WA’s outdated trading hours regulations, says CCIWA Chief Economist Rick Newnham.

Newnham says WA’s brick and mortar retailers cannot be left to teeter on the brink when Amazon hits our market and more people move to online shopping.

“Amazon doesn’t have governments telling them to hit the off switch at 5pm, and neither should WA businesses,” he says.

“We know that Christmas shopping is forecast to inject about $100 million into WA’s retail sector this year, but if the domino effect of the United States is anything to go by, Amazon’s rise could soon disrupt this sugar hit to the WA economy for good.”

A recent report by UBS estimated that earnings for Australia’s major listed retailers will fall as much as 20 per cent by 2023, with JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Super Retail Group expected to have the largest bite taken from their profit margins.

Australia Post and Star Track’s Inside Australian Online Shopping report also revealed that the growth in online spending significantly outperformed traditional retail spending, up 10.2 per cent compared to 3.3 per cent from 2015 to 2016, and that consumers are shopping online later in the day, with 29 per cent of purchases made between 7pm and 10pm.

“Despite the rise in online shopping inhibiting traditional retailers’ ability to compete, WA continues to have the most restrictive retail trading hours in the country,” Newnham says.

“Without change to WA’s Retail Trading Hours Act, brick and mortar retailers simply have no chance – there’s only so long you can tread water before you sink.

“The rise of Amazon won’t just impact WA jobs and business investment – the State Government’s budget bottom line will also be hit with less businesses and workers paying tax.

“This means reforming WA’s outdated retail trade regulations is not just in the interest of every WA business, it’s also in the Government’s interest.”

CCI is encouraging the McGowan Government to immediately implement their review of the Retail Trading Hours Act, as outlined in the WA Labor state policy platform.

Recent CCI polling revealed 71 per cent of West Australians back extending WA’s retail trading hours for all stores over the festive period, and nearly 60 per cent believe this should be for all stores, not just a select few.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents also believe the Act should be amended to allow all shops to be able to sell all types of products.

The Act currently restricts what shops can sell at certain times and what products different types of shops can sell.

► As WA’s peak business advocate, CCI works to elevate the concerns of WA industry to key nationwide decision-makers. Find out more about our advocacy efforts here.

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