Melbourne’s retail revival set to begin from next Friday

Sunday 24 October 2021

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra has welcomed the updated Victorian roadmap, which allows for an earlier reopening for ‘non-essential’ retailers for double vaccinated customers and staff, so they can maximise their trading potential during the critical pre-Christmas sales period.

Following consistent calls from the ARA for an earlier reopening, trading in stores will be allowed from 6pm next Friday in line with the 80% double dose vaccination target. Capacity and density limits will also be removed when 90% of the 12+ population is fully vaccinated, set to be in late November – which is a significant step towards a Covid-normal economy.

“Every day counts for retail as we enter the most important trading period of the year – particularly for small businesses on the brink of collapse. Victorian retailers were losing $55.2 million a day in retail trade as a result of the most recent lockdown. Most discretionary retailers make up to two thirds of their annual profits during the all-important Christmas trading period so we need to ensure they can open and trade at their full potential,” Mr Zahra said.

Mr Zahra said the earlier reopening also allows fashion retailers to take advantage of the important shopping period just prior to Melbourne Cup.

“It’s great to see the start of the rebound for hospitality and hair and beauty businesses, which reopened a couple of days ago, and we look forward to all retailers joining them from next Friday night. Most retailers will extend their trading hours beyond the traditional 9pm close, so they can get a head start in recovering the substantial trading losses they’ve incurred in recent months.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit across clothing, accessories and department stores and CBD retailers have also struggled enormously through more than 200 days of lockdown over the past two years. The only real antidote to that kind of economic hit is to let retail open their doors – and we strongly welcome today’s news as will retailers across Victoria.

“Victorians are forecast to spend $15.4 billion in the pre-Christmas sales period – a 1.3% increase on last year, and a significant increase on pre-pandemic conditions. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for people to get back out and shop and we’re looking forward to seeing double vaccinated people being rewarded.

“It’s also good news to see the Victorian Government removing capacity and density limits when 90% of the 12+ population is fully vaccinated. This will allow businesses to maximise sales during the last-minute Christmas-rush.”

/Public Release. View in full here.