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South Australia’s foray into Boxing Day trading deemed a success

South Australia’s first year of more widespread Boxing Day trading has been deemed a success by the Australian Retailers’ Association (ARA), after the Marshall Liberal Government released its Advanced Analytics report, which analysed Commonwealth Bank transactions over Christmas 2018.

The report revealed a 192 per cent increase in trade on Boxing Day compared to the previous year.

South Australia last year allowed suburban Adelaide stores to open their doors between 9am and 5pm on December 26th, if the retailer choose to do so, in response to strong demand from both consumers and retailers.

According to ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman the result vindicates the Marshall Government’s decision.

“It’s clear Adelaide has voted with its feet,” Zimmerman said.

“More than 130,000 people – or 10 per cent of the overall population of Adelaide – flocked to retailers in the suburbs on Boxing Day, and that’s proof of the success in this itself.”

The growth wasn’t limited to South Australian locals, with significant growth seen in the spending of interstate visitors and international visitors, which almost doubled.

According to Zimmerman, this result is proof that Government should “get out of the way” to allow businesses to trade when they, and their staff, wish.

“We believe that if consumer demand is there, and the businesses want to open and can pay their staff appropriately, then degregulating trading hours is a win for everyone. There are no negatives in this,” Zimmerman said.

Restrictions on public holiday trading vary by state, with the most recent example, Easter, having seen varied trading hours across the country.

This creates a sometimes confusing environment for retailers, Zimmerman argued, having noted his concern over the Easter period that retailers could find themselves inadvertently trading over prohibited times – and “slapped with hefty fines for their trouble.”

“The law is the law, and where opening at certain times is illegal, we wish to ensure our members’ interests are protected,” Zimmerman said.

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