Cash registers ready to ring in later trade

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Extending trading hours could help retailers escape a lagging economy and make regional cities more desirable for tourists, according to WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

With Christmas around the corner, Albany retailers will be able to trade later each night and on Sundays from December 1.

The temporary trading period for the festive season will wrap up on January 31 and allow businesses to open 8am–9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am–5pm on Sunday.

Businesses will remain closed Christmas Day and trade as normal on Saturday, excluding December 2 when trading will be extended from 8am-9pm for the Albany Christmas Pageant.

CCI WA chief executive Deidre Willmott renewed the push for deregulated trading throughout the year and said it would significantly increase retail in the region.

“The latest retail trade figures show that WA’s retail sales are lagging, falling by 1.3 per cent, with total retail turnover also the lowest in two years,” she said.

“It would also significantly improve WA’s attractiveness as a tourism destination, and encourage WA consumers to support local retailers.”

Albany CCI chief executive Russ Clark said this year would be the first time trading had been extended to support CBD businesses during the Christmas pageant.

“Businesses in the CBD that are not permitted to trade after 5pm have not been able to take advantage of the crowds gathered for the Pageant,” he said.

Mr Clark said strong trade was predicted for Great Southern businesses in the six-week lead-up to Christmas. However, amid the continued rise of online shopping, retailers face increased challenges.

City of Albany chief executive Andrew Sharpe told the Albany Advertiserlast month there were no plans to change the current trading policy. “There are about 220 businesses registered in Albany for retail trade, with the large majority of these businesses being small retail, special retail or filling stations, meaning they can open any day of the week,” he said.

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