Race to keep pace hurts mum, dad stores
Small businesses have railed against a proposal to extend Christmas trading to 100 hours a week, claiming it would hurt mum and dad-owned stores.
The Council of Small Business of Australia said the radical proposal by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA to a State Government review of Christmas trading would serve to benefit big retailers at the expense of smaller businesses.
Council spokesman Bob Stanton said independent stores would be pressured to open the same hours as their bigger competitors but without drawing the same number of customers.
He said exorbitant after-hours and overtime penalty rates — of up to $44 an hour for a sales assistant — would eat into any extra profit.
This would force many business owners to cover all shifts, stretching their working weeks to 115 hours once set-up and pull-down activities were included.
John Cummings, president of the Independent Grocers Association, said January was traditionally a quiet retail period.
“The reality is that most shopping is done in the five days before Christmas, ” he said.
CCI WA chief executive Deidre Willmott agreed current penalty rates were “out of touch” and should be changed.
“But one bad set of regulation should not be used as justification for retaining other sub-optimal laws, ” she said.
Ms Willmott did not respond to claims bigger retailers would benefit at the expense of small ones. But she said the benefits of extra competition that would arise from further deregulation would have widespread benefits.
“CCI has long held the view that there should be further changes to retail trading hours to address unintended inequities within current laws, ” she said.
“We also believe that there are benefits for retailers, consumers and the economy to be realised through increased competition.”
100 Hours to shop
What CCI wants in 2014-15
Monday to Saturday trading 6am to 9pm
Sunday 8am to 6pm
Public holiday except Christmas 8am to 8pm
Duration December 1 to January 31
© The West Australian
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