Trade hour issues

Zoe KeenanGeraldton Guardian
Steeve Poligadu on Marine Terrace.
Camera IconSteeve Poligadu on Marine Terrace. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Zoe Keenan

Spending levels in Geraldton’s retail industry haven’t grown during the extended trading trial and some businesses want to see the hours reduced, according to the Geraldton Retail and Industry Alliance’s chairman.

Alliance chairman Steeve Poligadu said people had had the luxury of shopping at different hours but the feeling among retailers was the spending hadn’t grown.

“There’s been mixed opinions during the trial, but mostly retailers believe it has been good to have people shop when trade does happen, but after 7pm it’s too quiet,” Mr Poligadu said.

In April, the alliance conducted a poll of 30 businesses, mostly retailers in or near the central business district, asking if they were for or against extended trading hours and if they thought hours should stay the same or be reduced.

Of the 30 responses, 87 per cent said they wanted hours reduced to a 7pm closing time on weeknights and a 3pm closing time on Sundays.

Thirteen per cent of respondents wanted the hours to stay the same, closing on a weeknight at 9pm and at 5pm on Sundays.

Out of the 30 businesses, 43 per cent were for extended trading and 57 per cent were against.

The alliance and the Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry made a submission to the City of Greater Geraldton to review the hours.

Chamber chief executive Glen Whistler-Carr said responses had been mixed.

“Some have enjoyed the extended trading and some felt the hours were too late at night to 9pm,” he said.

Mr Poligadu said everyone needed to take a collaborative approach and look at what worked for Geraldton as well as businesses.

“Collaboration with everyone is absolutely key and the message from us to the decision makers is to engage with the small business community as well,” Mr Poligadu said.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said all material and feedback provided by everyone would be considered by the council.

In July, the City will appoint an independent research firm to survey members of the public, retailers and other shops for opinions which will then be presented to Minister for Commerce Bill Johnston.

The 12-month extended trading hours trial began in November.

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