ACCI's stance on Extended trading hours in Albany

Retail Trading Hours – Albany, WA

Retail Trading Hours – Albany, WA

The Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc

This paper outlines the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry stance on extended trading hours in Albany. 

The Current Situation

The City of Albany policy supports extended trading hours for General Retail Stores, as defined by the Retail Trading Hours Act 1987 WA[1](the Act), under special circumstances and during the following peak visiting times:

·      8.00 am – 9.00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 

·      8.00 am – 5.00 pm Saturday

·      10.00 am – 5.00 pm Sunday 

·      10.00 am – 5.00 pm Public holidays 

·      12.00 pm – 5.00pm Anzac Day 

·      CLOSED – Christmas Day and Good Friday

Special Circumstances include times that there is expected to be an influx of people to the City at a time external to usual trading hours. 

Peak Visitor times include the Summer school holiday period (1 December to 31 January inclusive), Easter Holidays (Easter Saturday to Easter Monday inclusive), Public Holiday long weekends, and Public Holidays excluding Christmas day and Good Friday. 

Background

As defined by the Retail Trading Hours Act 1987 WA, nearly all retail stores in Albany fall outside the category of General Retail and can trade outside of the hours listed above throughout the year. A summary of permitted trading times for stores other than General Retail Stores has been provided in Attachment 1. Detailed definitions for retail stores in WA, and their permissible trading hours, can be found in the Act.

The Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry (the Chamber) recognises how challenging it is to single out and measure the potential impact of full deregulated trading on the Albany economy. 

In its recent research the Chamber found many factors that can affect demand for goods and services. These include, but are not limited to:

·       on-line sales and digital markets;

·       varying economic trends over recent decades such as those in the mining industry;

·       global financial crisis and national/international market shifts;

·       tax reforms that may result in some families having lower disposable income; 

·       little or no wage growth; and

·      limited access to employees/skills required to innovate and adapt business to remain competitive in the changing environment.

The Chamber research showed that in some locations across Australia, where trading hours were deregulated, the tourism industry benefited. It also found that smaller retail stores lost a share of the market to larger general-purpose stores.

With regard to consumers, it found that there were places where consumers were delighted to find that deregulation brought more flexibility in shopping hours and competition. However, there were instances where these lower prices were not always sustained over the long term. There were cases where larger stores were able to drop prices, seeing smaller retailers unable to compete and then raise the prices under the less competitive environment.

The Chamber Position

97% of Albany businesses are small, most have less than four staff. All contribute to our economic, social and environmental well-being. 

The membership of the Chamber is diverse and made up of businesses that could include ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in a deregulated environment. Some members of the Chamber would potentially gain from trade deregulation if there was an increase in visitors from the surrounding areas. 

Some members may be forced to compete by opening at times they would rather be involved in supporting their family and community events. Some may even have to close if they are unable to compete with potential reductions from larger stores.

Deregulation of trading hours would cause a change in the structure of retail in the Albany economy. As such, the Chamber supports that any public consultation, with regard to related policy, should provide a safe and inclusive opportunity to have input.

The Chamber does take the stance that all businesses need to be aware of the potential impact that a deregulated trading environment would have and prepare for the possibility that this may take effect if the State legislation is amended or the City of Albany policy changes.

With such a diverse member base the Chamber does not deem it appropriate to take a position on deregulated trading hours in Albany. 

The Chamber suggests that any decision to deregulate trading hours in Albany be accompanied with support for small-to-medium independent retailers to find appropriate niche markets and remain profitable during any transition period. 

Attachment 1 - The Retail trading Act 1987

The Retail Trading Hours Act 1987 applies to retail shops in Western Australia south of the 26th parallel. It sets out the trading hours and rules covering various categories of retail outlets.

The trading hours of the following store types are not covered by the Act:

  • restaurants,

  • cafes,

  • takeaway food shops,

  • short-term markets (set up and dismantled in one day), and

  • shops on Rottnest Island

Small and special retail shops

You must apply for a certificate if you want to trade as a small or special retail shop.

Small retail shops can trade 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Special retail shops are considered necessary for emergency, convenience or recreation goods. Shops in this category can trade between 6.00 am – 11:30 pm every day of the year. 

Filling stations – service stations

Filling stations include any business that sells motor fuel. Filling station trading hours are deregulated in all areas.

There are restrictions on the range of non-petroleum goods which may be sold from filling stations after general retail shop trading hours.

For further information on after hours non-petroleum stock options contact Trading Hours enquiries on (08) 6251 1406.

The list of the goods able to be sold are prescribed in the regulations.

Motor vehicle shops (car yards)

A motor vehicle shop includes any shop where motor vehicles are sold.

Motor vehicle shops trading hours:

  • 8.00 am – 6.00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

  • 8.00 am – 9.00 pm on Wednesday

  • 8.00 am – 1.00 pm on Saturday

  • CLOSED on Sunday

  • CLOSED on public holidays

Non-metropolitan areas

Local government authorities outside the Perth metropolitan area can apply to Consumer Protection to extend the trading hours for general retail shops in their district beyond those stipulated in the Act.

Permits

Extended trading permits are available under certain conditions. These include, for example, swap meets, trade fairs and industry expos. For specific advice on the issue of permits please call  (08) 6251 1406


[1]https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_840_homepage.html

Megan King