Melbourne city retailers encouraged to adopt Twilight Trade

City of Melbourne traders should respond to changing consumer behaviour by extending core trading hours, creating a link between the daytime and night-time economy a new report by leading peak body Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has found.

Commissioned by the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government, the ARA report recommends widespread adoption of twilight trading hours in Melbourne CBD.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said a shift in pedestrian foot traffic creates a compelling case for change to encourage more retailers to trade after 5.00pm.

“We know that global shopping destinations seamlessly weave retail into the fabric of the city, with vibrant retail offerings and trading hours that allow customers to shop when they want to shop,” said Mr Zahra.

“This report confirms there is more unmet consumer demand in Melbourne city after 5pm than before 10am which reflects a shift in pedestrian foot traffic in recent years.

“While we know that some of our larger members have already responded positively to this change in consumer behaviour, the report also confirms that not all retailers have embraced this opportunity and are potentially missing out on sales.

“To realise the full potential of this time of the day, we need to a co-ordinated approach that actively encourages more retailers to trade in line with other global cities – 10am to 7pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday.

“From our research, we see strong levels of support for Twilight Trade, but we also see some reluctance for individual retailers to extend hours in isolation.

“That is why we have done this research – to give retailers some confidence about extending their core trading hours. And that’s why we are taking a leadership role in convincing more retailers to come on board.

“We also know how weekends and time with friends and family is important. So being able to spend time to go from shopping to dinner to seeing a show or movie and then perhaps onto a bar or club means that the whole city needs to be open for business.”

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp AO said Melbourne’s twilight economy is significant.

“Melbourne’s twilight economy is booming – with foot traffic increasing in the city by up to 35 per cent after 6pm, as Melburnians clock off and make the most of our world-class retail, food and entertainment.

“We’re encouraging city retailers to take full advantage of this change in consumer behaviour – shifting their opening hours to reflect when city visitors want to shop

“We’ll continue to support businesses with the latest data to embrace the city’s new rhythm, boost the local economy and improve the visitor experience,” said the Lord Mayor.

Centre Manager at Melbourne Central, Denis Ryan, said twilight trading hours align with the changing lifestyle patterns and evolving needs of shoppers and retailers.

“Melbourne boasts a dynamic and vibrant nightlife, and with Melbourne Central at the heart of the city, our retailers play a critical role in activating a core retail offering at times that are most convenient for shoppers, residents, office workers, students and tourists.

“We endorse a collaborative approach that supports the local business community and amplifies the city’s ability to provide a thriving retail and experiential precinct where people can come together for longer periods, which ultimately leads to economic benefit and community development.”

The ARA will run a series of information sessions through April 2024 to talk to retailers about the case for change and encourage more retailers to adopt twilight trading hours.

The ARA’s report, along with more information for consumers and businesses, is available at

/Public Release. View in full here.