Perth Christmas retail shopping hours scaled back, prompting business criticism

Perth shoppers will have fewer hours to complete their Christmas gift-buying in store this year after the WA Government scaled back extended retail trading hours over the festive period.

In a move blasted by the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) as “anti-jobs”, the Government has reduced extended Christmas trading this year from 49 to 34 additional hours.

The biggest change is with morning weekday trading in early December, with shops last year having been allowed to open at 7:00am Monday to Friday from December 5.

This year, 7:00am weekday trading will not commence until December 17.

Shops also will not be able to open at 7:00am on Saturdays in the lead-up to Christmas, with trading restricted on those days from 8:00am to 6:00pm.

Move ‘a slap in the face for retail workers’

CCI chief executive Chris Rodwell said the decision would push more shoppers online and “strangle WA jobs”.

“For a Government that was elected on a platform of creating jobs, to then reduce the number of additional jobs created over Christmas by more than 30 per cent is a slap in the face for retail workers,” Mr Rodwell said.

“It’s hard to know what is more concerning — that the Government has made this decision thinking it doesn’t impact on jobs in WA, or that it understands its damaging decision and has proceeded anyway.”

But Commerce Minister Bill Johnston said the decision was a “proper compromise” between the needs of retail workers and consumers, saying shoppers did not want stores to open at 7:00am.

“Clearly there’s no demand because if you go into a shop two or three weeks before Christmas, between 7:00am and 8:00am as I have done, there is nobody in the shops,” he said.

“There are sufficient trading hours to support extended shopping.”

Mr Johnston dismissed suggestions extended trading increased spending or job numbers.

The decision to scale back extended Christmas hours follows complaints from the union representing retail workers last year, over the Labor Government’s decision to maintain the same festive shopping schedule implemented by its Liberal predecessors.

But Mr Johnston denied he had bowed to pressure from the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, saying the union had not wanted any additional hours.

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