By Aimee Chanthadavong

The 9pm trading hours on weeknights under new laws in Western Australia have come into effect.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said the new retail trading hours regime, which will apply across the whole metropolitain area, will give general retail shops, including major grocery stores, the option to open until 9pm on weeknights.

“Creating a retail trading environment that allows choice, flexibility and improved competition has always been the focus of this Government,” he said in a statement.
Speaking to Retailbiz, Wayne Spencer, Retail Traders’ Association (RTA) of Western Australia executive director, said the initial days saw better trading in larger centres with focus on food items and durable goods such as clothing.

“Last night was the first night of late night shopping for all of the Perth metro area and although expectations are that trade would need time to grow, that is. it will take time for the consumer to get to know the changes that have occurred, it was quite apparent that many consumers came out to enjoy their first night of freedom,” he said.

Also, under the new laws, special trading precincts of Armadale and Midland have the opportunity to begin Sunday trading.

“The extension of weeknight trading to 9pm and the creation of special trading precincts in Armadale and Midland, in addition to the special precincts in Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup, represents a significant achievement,” Commerce Minister Bill Marmion said.
“At the forefront of the Government’s mind has been the need to keep pace with the changes in urban lifestyles and working hours in the metropolitan area.”

However, Spencer noted that though the RTA welcomes the reforms, retailers should always have the freedom to choose their opening hours.

“To this end we have recently achieved some gains with greater flexibility of trading hours, but numerous inconsistencies and red tape continue to persist and our quest needs to continue to achieve more for the WA retail industry,” he said.

“The WA retail industry must be allowed to determine its own future, to make choices to sustain its direction and profitability, to become ‘customer driven.’.  This Association respectfully submits that this is not a matter for politicians, or politics, it is an industry decision to be individually determined by each retailer with their respective clientele.”