Sunday trading in Emerald?

SNAP out of that Sunday chill zone or mad dash to the Rocky shops, because the hot news is the doors are opening on seven-day trading in Emerald.

And it need not be a fatal blow to local independent retailers, says National Retailers Association and Union of Employers corporate services director Jed Moore.

Applications for extended trading hours for Emerald and Gladstone are currently before the Queensland Industrial Tribunal Commission.

The commission’s full bench will come to Emerald on October 27 for a hearing, where submissions for and against Sunday trading will be heard.

Mr Moore said the two towns were the latest in the rollout of seven-day trading across Queensland; bringing it into line with other states and territories.

Emerald Chamber of Commercial president Victor Cominos expressed strong reservations, saying the advent of Sunday trading may, “open the flood gates for major retail chain stores to wipe out any semblance of competition and destroy small business and local jobs in our area”.

“Seven -day trading will not encourage the average buyer to spend more,” he continued.

“Most families and individuals work on a weekly budget and will still spend the same amount of money.

“However, the forced opening of small businesses in shopping complexes will only increase overheads with staff being entitled to penalty rates.”

Mr Moore said the NRA’s most vocal opponents were the independent retailers who trade on Sunday in a non-competitive environment.

“They use a self-interest argument to maintain the status quo, but from our view the benefits to consumers are greater flexibility in shopping hours and choice.

“There is no denying there is some redistribution of sales on a Sunday, but the experience with other areas where seven-day trading has been introduced is it’s not a fatal change to those traders who currently have that Sunday monopoly.

“It’s something that does cause decline in sales at the initial introduction, but generally speaking, that recovers fairly rapidly and the general evidence has been within a 12-month period they’re back to similar sales levels.”

Mr Cominos countered by saying he believed the move could have shattering consequences for some businesses.

“We do not want to witness the devastation of small business and the appearance of ‘for lease’ signs on empty buildings,” he said.

“I am afraid some small business owners may shut down with jobs lost and livelihoods destroyed.”

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