MGA renews attack on trading hour reforms

meat shopping supermarketMaster Grocers Association chief executive Jos de Bruin has issued another attack on South Australia’s proposed retail trading hour reforms, reiterating his view that independent retailers will suffer.

The independent grocer representative, who has previously said that newly elected South Australian Premier Steve Marshall’s plan to deregulate retail trading hours in the state would “cost jobs”, renewed his offensive on Thursday.

“We are fully aware of the struggle faced by independent retailers to keep their heads above water, as they fight to combat the might of the chains.

“MGA strongly supports its 272 SA members and local association, South Australian Independent Retailers, in opposing the deregulation of trading hours,” he said in a media statement.

“We have seen Coles and Woolworths gradually expand their power by building more and bigger stores, which in the end just crowd out the little guys to the point of annihilation, all in their own self- interest.

“Currently small retailers are able to trade at times that gives them a small trading advantage and that helps them to survive, but if those times disappear – then so will they!” He continued.

Marshall, who has previously labelled the current rules as “embarrassing”, and “dysfunctional” has committed to deregulating trading hours through amendments to the Shop Trading Hours Act.

The policy changes include to expand trading hours in CBD and suburban areas from Monday to Sunday, to between midnight and 9:00PM, and to do the same for Sundays and public holidays (except Christmas) in CBD area

A variety of retailers are currently prevented from trading outside of 11:00AM – 5:00PM on a Sunday and after 5:00PM on a Saturday in the CBD and suburbs.

Retailers are also not allowed to open past 5:00PM on weekdays in certain shopping districts.

The move has support from ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman, who has complained that the current regulations are inconsistent and difficult to navigate.

“He [Marshall] said he’s going to [deregulate trading hours] so let’s hope he can get it done,” Zimmerman said.

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