Coles steps up campaign for extended trading hours in WA

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 14th October 2009

Supermarket chain Coles is pushing the case for extended trading hours in Western Australia, but may be fighting a losing battle as the Labor and National parties appear set against such moves.

The major supermarkets and the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been campaigning for an extension of weeknight trading hours to 9pm (from 6) for years but, despite having support from the ruling Liberal party, they have found a number of groups against the notion – namely, independent grocers and the Labor party.

Four years ago the idea of extended trading hours was voted down in a referendum but Coles says an independent survey commissioned by them shows that public feeling has changed.

According to the survey, two-thirds of Perth residents support longer shopping hours on weekdays and Sunday.

The Director of Coles Supermarket Operations, Stuart Machin, said over 90 per cent of Perth residents are aware that West Australia has more restricted shopping hours than any other State.

“Over 70 per cent of women, many of them working mums, support longer shopping hours, especially on week nights until 9 pm to help them to better manage their work-life balance,” Mr Machin claimed. “Over 80 per cent of working men would also like to see shopping hours extended on weekdays so that they or their partners have more flexibility to share the shopping and manage their families.”

Mr Machin said the survey also shows that over 80 per cent of younger people under 34 years of age in particular support extended shopping hours.

Independent grocers have waged a campaign suggesting that the only beneficiaries of extended trading hours are the major supermarkets, suggesting small players will be hurt by any plans to change current legislation.