Small traders ruing Sundays

Foodworks owner Rick Smith said his store lost out considerably on the first day of Sunday trading.
Foodworks owner Rick Smith said his store lost out considerably on the first day of Sunday trading.

THERE were mixed emotions last weekend, as Emerald saw the introduction of Sunday trading for the first week.

While many took advantage of the new hours in the Centro Village complex, it was the smaller businesses that suffered.

The first day of Sunday trading was not a day Foodworks owner Rick Smith was looking forward to, and with good reason. Mr Smith, who has been involved in the Emerald Foodworks store since 2004, said Sunday was always the best day of trade.

“It was the best part of 40% of our week’s trade,” he said.

However last Sunday Mr Smith said the store’s sales were down by 50% and that it was noticeably quieter.

Mr Smith said he knew the store would continue to have its loyal customers, but he would have to look at ways to make his business more viable.

While it might seem more convenient to shop at the bigger stores, Mr Smith said the community would suffer as a result.

Hooper’s Convenience Store owner Peter Hooper said while it was too early to tell how Sunday trading would affect his business, he too said it was definitely quieter.

At the other end of the scale, centre manager of the Centro Village complex Benita Osborn said the first Sunday of seven day trading was “a huge success”.

She said Woolworths reported sales way above their predicted figures.

Ms Osborn said Just Jeans and Jay Jays were the only other two stores that opened in the centre, along with the chemist which had extended trading hours for the day.

She said other stores in the complex would probably wait to see how busy Sundays would be before they decided to open.

“We won’t know how popular it is until about a month down the track,” she said.

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