Leading retailers have called for longer shop opening hours to fight off the online trading threat.
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In a submission made by the retailers association to the Productivity Commission, leading high street names including Woolworths, owners of Dick Smith, Harvey Norman and Myer have called for the right to open on holidays including Anzac and even Christmas Day, blaming the 24/7 nature of the web as creating an unfair advantage.
The retail body, which counts Solomon Lew’s Just Group, Coles and Borders among its members, has called on the Commission to allows shops to open during restricted trading days, reversing the idea of a ‘closed shop’ in NSW.
“There are important linkages between trading hours and the use of technology that act to reduce the competitiveness of shop-based local retailers, in favour of online retailers, and reinforce an uneven competitive environment,” the National Retail Association May submission states.
“Online stores are never closed and not subjected to trading hours regulations. This gives online stores a major competitive advantage over store-based retailers who face restricted trading days. Trading hours laws need to be modernised to reflect this.”
The dated laws also create an uneven competitive environment between stores with less restrictive trading hours, which includes special shopping zones located in NSW, Qld, WA and SA, while other stores nearby are forced to keep shut.
And it affects the big boys “most often,” referring to the laws which the retail body argues only apply to larger shops.
But it’s not the first time retailers have come out fighting against online rivals. Last year a similar group of Aussie retailers banded together, calling on the Federal government to introduce a 10 GST levy on all online goods sold under $1000 by international e-tailers.
An investigation by the Productivty Commission was subsequently set up and will return its draft findings in August.
The current trading hours regime also fail to service the needs of the modern consumer, who want to be able to fit their shopping around their work and family commitments, the latest submission adds.