Sunday shoppers split over hours
Sunday shoppers have given deregulated trading a mixed review, with some arguing it’s great for convenience and others saying it’s bad for business.
The Geraldton Guardian visited Northgate Shopping Centre on Sunday to canvas some public opinion and found Coles — though far from bursting at the seams — was peppered with consumers at about 3pm.
One worker at a nearby empty music and entertainment store gave Sunday trading a thumbs down, saying not enough people frequented the store to make being open worthwhile. “It’s too inconsistent,” she said. “It’ll be worth it about a quarter of the time and the rest of the time it won’t be, especially by the time we pay the wages.
“I don’t really shop on Sundays or at night during the week, even on Thursdays.
“I’d be happy for it to be over.” Another retail staffer at a Northgate video game shop said he enjoyed shopping on Sundays and on weeknights because it was convenient.
When pressed why he wouldn’t shop at a local IGA — a few of which have always been open on Sundays and until 9pm on weeknights — he said he believed shopping there made for a bigger grocery bill. “They’re too expensive,” he said.
“But it’s also about going wherever is closer.”
Coles customers also flagged distance as a factor in where they chose to shop, with one man saying he used to be a loyal Rigters IGA customer until he moved to Wandina, making Woolworths Seacrest the more convenient location.
One customer said he had been shopping almost every Sunday since the law was relaxed last October, though he normally shopped at Glenfield IGA because it was closer to home.
A staff member at a Northgate cafe said she disliked deregulation
because she had to work most Sundays and she rarely shopped on Sundays or weeknights.
A man who used to work in trading said he believed deregulation
was not required in Geraldton.
Email your thoughts to editor@ geraldtonnewspapers.com.au.
Regarding the City of Greater Geraldton council vote to continue extended trading.
Like most local retailers, I was disappointed in our City.
They treated our local retail bodies, including the chamber of commerce, with complete disrespect for not tabling their submission and at least showing councillors that all the retailers were asking for was fine-tuning the hours so they were in tune with what is actually happening.
Perhaps the chamber might have shown more ticker in fighting for the locals.
I get that a lot of councillors think it is a silver bullet — more opening hours, more business, more vitality.
All I ask of them is to hire a bus any day at 7.30pm (except Thursday) and to check the foot traffic in the CBD and all other retail areas.
They should also take note of the shops that are open. What has happened? Shops have closed, or are on the verge of closing.
Items that we could always purchase are no longer available locally — even the mayor admitted he could no longer buy suits in our CBD.
Jobs, as the economic survey the City commissioned shows, have been lost.
I know there are many reasons — population decrease and tough economic conditions, for example.
But even with a new shopping centre that did shift jobs to that area, there was a net loss of many full-time and casual jobs.
And that was only at the shops surveyed.
What about the jobs lost at the shops that have closed, or which were not part of the survey?
Thankfully, the councillors of the City of KalgoorlieBoulder saw it differently.
There was a motion to change the shopping hours to 24/7, again with the promise of a silver bullet for the vitality and economics of their city.
Luckily, the local retailers fought hard for their viability.
They did not get everything they wanted, but most will be happy with the outcome.
I strongly believe one size does not fit all.
Albany is quite happy with the hours it has set, as I hope Kalgoorlie is now.
I hope our City councillors take note of how local retailers are faring in 12 months time.
We are all hoping for a recovery in the city’s fortunes, but on present trends I fear more jobs will disappear in retail in the next 12 months.
I hope I am wrong.
Rigters Supermarket Group
The Geraldton Guardian asked for a few opinions from Sunday shoppers at Northgate Shopping Centre. Picture: Tamra Carr