Victorian retail outlets – including supermarkets and convenience stores – will need to make costly adjustments to comply with a proposed retail display ban on cigarette packets.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said the proposed retail display ban on tobacco products will burden Victoria’s small retailers with a $182 million total economic cost in the first year.
"The total bill would be shared across 5000 convenience stores and 1000 grocery stores in Victoria that would each be liable for up to $10,000 to meet their obligations under the planned tobacco display laws.
"In an indicative regulatory cost analysis by Deloitte, it was also found that a Victorian retail display ban would result in recurring costs of $116 million. This translates into the average ‘mum and dad’ convenience store having to bear ongoing costs of up to $17,560 per year, due to deterioration in customer transaction and service times,” he said.
Under the proposed regulations, store owners can be fined or banned from selling tobacco products if cigarette packets are within the view of customers, which will result in a complete refit of current displays, as well as ongoing training, customer service and restocking issues.
"This is potentially a massive financial burden for small retailers to carry when we consider there is no international evidence that restricting the display of cigarettes actually reduces the uptake of smoking,” said Zimmerman.
“In fact, New Zealand has dismissed similar regulations based on the huge expense and lack of supporting evidence.
"While retailers fully appreciate the health dangers associated with smoking, the financial impact of these regulations is not a public health issue. The ARA’s concern is about an increased cost to retailers when they can least afford it.”