Australia’s much-loved Christmas and Boxing Day sales would be casualties of new laws under consideration by the Federal Parliament, says Australian National Retailers Association CEO Margy Osmond.
Osmond says amendments to the Trade Practices Act (TPA) proposed by Senator Steve Fielding will be bad news for retailers and consumers if they were passed by Parliament.
“The Fielding changes would generate uncertainty and confusion across the retail sector for retailers – both large and small. Customers could expect fewer discounts and higher prices as retailers scramble to comply with new regulations for price setting,” she says.
“Bargain hunters around the nation would be devastated to see the end of the Christmas, Boxing Day and mid-year sales as we know them. Consumers could also expect a downturn in regular end-of-season sales and a difference in weekly bills with discounting restrictions.
“At a basic level there would be no more half-price cooked chooks at the end of a shopping day or specials discounts for favoured shoppers.
“The Fielding proposals distort the original intent of the TPA – to preserve and promote competition, in the best interests of all Australian consumers.
“It is these consumers that will be hit where it hurts most – in the hip pocket – as retailers become more and more cautious about sales and discounting,” says Osmond.
“We urge parliamentarians to reject any changes which destroy competition in the Australian retail sector.
“Senator Fielding’s proposals would inhibit competition, ultimately increase all retail prices and create an environment where retail prices are kept artificially high.
“Every time you put something new into the Trade Practices Act you run the risk of creating an unintended effect that undermines competition and pushes up prices,” she adds.