The National Retail Association (NRA) has launched a special bid for a one off holiday trading in regional Queensland.
According to the lobby group, shoppers in regional Queensland could face a four day lockout from their supermarkets under trading hour legislation, because of a quirk in the Christmas and Boxing Day holiday dates this year.
Under regional Queensland trading hour laws, major retailers could be denied the ability to trade for four consecutive days during the 2015 Christmas period – December 25, 26, 27, and 28.
The situation has arisen as a result of the gazettal of the extra public holiday on Monday, December 28 when Boxing Day falls on Saturday, December 26, coupled with prevailing trading hour arrangements, which prevent major retailers in regional Queensland from trading on Sundays and public holidays.
Trevor Evans, CEO of NRA, said these trading hours have been brought about by a unique set of circumstances but are an unfair impediment for both consumers and retailers.
“Shoppers in regional Queensland may have to brave the crush to stock up on groceries or else suffer unreasonable hardship if access to food and groceries supplied by major supermarkets is denied for four consecutive days,” Evans said.
“It will also have similar impacts for non-food stores and regional shopping centres. Those hoping to purchase toys, electronics and fashion in post Christmas sales, or to exchange items, will need to wait until Tuesday, 29 December.
“We always see extreme levels of consumer demand on Christmas Eve and Tuesday, 29 December, with unnecessary delays and inconvenience caused by congestion and difficulties in ensuring the shelves are stocked.”
In order to ease the problem, the NRA has launched a special bid in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to allow for one off Sunday trading and Monday public holiday trading in 2015 in areas of the state that do not usually allow it.
“We are hopeful that this bid will succeed and assist in easing tension around what should be a joyful and stress free Christmas period,” Evans said.
Evans said if the application was not successful, the impact would extend beyond consumer demand to the entire supermarket supply chain.
“Major supermarkets will also suffer significant losses of perishable stock, as they are required to close after having increased stock weight to cater for the Christmas rush,” he said.
“Closures of any more than two days make it unworkable for certain perishable items that carry limited shelf life and make it difficult for supermarket managers to ensure the shelves are stocked for the onslaught of customers when the shops reopen.”