Major Retailers Seek Flexible Opening Hours

Submitted by Stock Market News on 30 May, 2011 - 12:18

Major retailers – Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) , David Jones (ASX:DJS) , Woolworths (ASX:WOW) , Coles – want to have their own operating hours except during holidays. Other than Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day morning, they want to open whenever they like to ''level the playing field'' with 24/7 online shopping.

The Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) filed an appeal to the Productivity Commission for immediate intervention from the government. The submission also warns that "the wrong policy settings could result in the globalisation of the retail sector seriously threatening the viability of Australian retailers and the jobs of many Australians".

The retail sector earns $240 billion a year and employs more Australians than any other industry.

Retailers launched a campaign to tax goods bought online from overseas businesses in line with the 10 percent GST placed on goods bought locally. But this incited anger from many customers who felt it was just right for them to buy cheaper goods online after retail giant's have profited from them.

ANRA wants to speed up the removal of customs duty on consumer goods and the review of taxes that "make them less competitive with overseas retailers".

Retailers "still struggle to compete in a global environment where they pay duties and taxes that online importers do not, they pay wages, rents, sick leave and other necessary benefits that overseas suppliers do not have to pay,"ANRA chief executive Margy Osmond said, adding that retail "will still be here when the mining boom is behind us".