Ex­tended trad­ing only hurts store own­ers, shop­pers

Townsville Bulletin - - Lettersextra -

WITH re­gard to the ar­ti­cles ‘Trad­ing all year round mooted for twin cities’ etc and ‘Don’t trade in tra­di­tion’ ( TB, De­cem­ber 18).

What needs to be con­sid­ered is that ex­tended trad­ing hours from a re­tail per­spec­tive ben­e­fit prin­ci­pally the ma­jor re­tail­ers.

Small busi­nesses usu­ally lose trade when the ma­jors open. I’m sure many of Mr Wal­lace’s con­stituents in small busi­ness, in­clud­ing their staff, would not be im­pressed with his un­car­ing com­ment that it would be tough on them but is part of an evolv­ing so­ci­ety.

The ma­jors em­ploy fewer peo­ple per $100 of sales than do in­de­pen­dents, so any in­crease in their mar­ket share re­sults in job losses in other sec­tors. Is that good for so­ci­ety, Mr Wal­lace?

Is this, from an even wider per­spec­tive, good for the con­sumer? We say no!

Cur­rently in the food sec­tor, Wool­worths and Coles con­trol nearly 80 per cent of the na­tional food mar­ket. We be­lieve the ma­jor re­tail­ers have used their mar­ket power to in­crease profit mar­gins by driv­ing down prices paid to sup­pli­ers of prod­ucts and ser­vices.

This has not re­sulted in a re­duc­tion in re­tail prices, only on im­proved bot­tom line (profit) for the ma­jors.

Gro­cery prices have in­creased sub­stan­tially since the mid-1990s while the range of prod­ucts avail­able in su­per­mar­kets has con­tracted from around 50,000 to about 30,000 and this re­duc­tion in branded prod­uct is likely to in­crease as the ma­jors move more into private la­bels.

This in it­self could cause job losses in the food man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, plus a lot of this stock is im­ported.

From 1990 to 2006, the CPI has in­creased 56 per cent, yet food prices have risen 73 per cent.

Aus­tralia has the high­est dom­i­nance of re­tail food sales (by two com­pa­nies) in the West­ern World, yet we are also the only coun­try where food in­fla­tion has out­stripped gen­eral in­fla­tion.

Re­tail­ing needs a strong in­de­pen­dent sec­tor in both food and non-food but es­pe­cially food to keep the ma­jors hon­est.

Ex­tended trad­ing hours not only has a detri­men­tal ef­fect on fam­ily life, but helps the ma­jor re­tail­ers in­crease their dom­i­nance.

The edi­to­rial " Don’t trade in tra­di­tion" makes some very good points that are wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion.

We would sug­gest to Mr Wal­lace that he con­sider care­fully the points made both here and in that ar­ti­cle be­fore con­tin­u­ing his sup­port of the ma­jor re­tail­ers.

IANBALDOCK Queens­land Re­tail Traders and Shop­keep­ers

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