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Adelaide Post Christmas Sales

published  First Published: 26/12/2009
Article written by: News Reporter: Nigel Brookson
It is expected some 300,000 shoppers will flock to shops tomorrow and spend upwards of $170 million.
Experts say first-day takings could have been up to $25 million higher if shops were able to open for longer than eight hours.
While some retailers, including IKEA, Harbour Town and Jetty Rd, Glenelg, will open today, the majority of stores will not kick off Christmas sales until 9am tomorrow.
The disjointed trading hours over the two-week sales period have drawn criticism from peak business group, Business SA, which has repeated calls for deregulation of trading hours.
Retailers are bracing for an influx of shoppers tomorrow, following a two-day shutdown, by rostering on extra staff.
While smaller businesses are allowed to trade all year round, most close down on public holidays because major department stores and supermarkets - with consumer pulling power - are not allowed to open.
Business SA chief executive Peter Vaughan said the current system robbed SA of tourist dollars and forced people to head interstate.
"Once again we will see many South Australians jumping on planes and taking advantage of sales in cities that welcome their spending money," he said.
"(The trading hours restriction) gives tourists and visitors here very limited opportunities to spend money and retailers limited opportunities to capitalise on the sales opportunities.
"We are literally turning money away from the local economy, and meanwhile interstate counterparts will be open for business over the weekend."
Retail analyst Stirling Griff said shops usually were allowed to open for 12 to 14 hours on the first day of sales but this year's arrangements were "very, very messy" and would cause confusion.
After opening on Sunday and closing on Monday, retailers would have to "kick-start sales again on the Tuesday", he said.
"SA is pretty much the only state not opening on Boxing Day," Mr Griff said. "Western Australia is even opening this year and they've been holding off for many years."
Mr Griff said retailers had asked the Government to open on Boxing Day - which is not a public holiday this year - and trade "right through" or, failing that, open from 7am to 7pm tomorrow, instead of 9am to 5pm.
"The retailers should be able to determine what is best for them and their shoppers rather than the Government," he said. "We've got politicians deciding when we can buy a T-shirt or whatever else."
Industrial Relations Minister Paul Caica has said eight hours of trading tomorrow "should be sufficient to satisfy the needs of retailers and their customers for post-Christmas sales".
"After considering individual submissions from retailers, the range of hours approved in these exemptions will ensure retailers and shoppers have sufficient choice and flexibility, while retail workers still get a decent break over Christmas," he said.
Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association SA secretary Peter Malinauskas agreed shop assistants deserved the day off today.
"Boxing Day is a time we can relax, eat left-overs, watch the cricket and retail workers deserve that opportunity and then people can shop `till they drop on Sunday," he said.
Mr Malinauskas denied claims by Mr Griff and the Liberal Party that his union "controlled" decisions about trading hours in SA.
"At the end of the day it is up to the minister of the day," he said.
Liberal industrial relations spokesman Iain Evans said the trading restrictions "entrenched Adelaide as a shopping backwater on public holidays" and promised a Liberal government would totally deregulate shopping hours.
"Around the country other Labor governments offer shoppers freedom of choice on public holidays but in Adelaide confused consumers can't understand why . . . nothing has been done to bring Adelaide's draconian shopping hours into line with other states," he said.
State Retailers Association executive director John Brownsea said there were shopping options available to consumers on Boxing Day.
"I think the trading hours this year are perfectly adequate, " he said.



Related Article: Post Christmas Sales Predictions


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