FACTBase Bulletin 7 - The Impacts of Retail Trade Deregulation

This paper reviews the various arguments for and against retail deregulation as well as the complexities involved in the policy decision, noting the evidence from other Australian and international experiences on the effects of deregulation remain inconclusive.

Key Findings
  • It is suggested that deregulating retail trading hours offers more flexible shopping arrangements for consumers, greater choice, increased competition, an expansion of economic activity, and more vibrant urban environments.
  • The changing demographics of consumers, particularly the increased amount of women in the workforce and dual income families, is a major argument for the liberalisation of retail trading hours, where consumers are increasingly at work during store opening hours.
  • The economic arguments regarding deregulated retail trading hours are mixed, where retail turnovers are generally higher, smaller stores may lose out to larger companies, and higher prices for consumers of deregulated stores.
  • Social impacts of extended trading hours are also varied, with one main argument that there will be a negative effect on community, family, and sporting organisations, and another major argument outlining that deregulation will increase urban liveability and community vibrancy.
  • There are contested arguments for and against the deregulation of retail trading hours, with many gaps in the evidence and data.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.