Unlawful Easter trading risks huge fines

Traders who flout restricted retail trading hours during the Easter period risk hefty fines, the Executive Director of the Australian Retailers’ Association, Russell Zimmerman, said today.

Citing the example of a shopping centre seeking to compel its tenants to open on Easter Sunday, Mr Zimmerman urged landlords and retailers to check state regulations to determine whether they were permitted to trade.

“The ARA is concerned that retail businesses that open during prohibited times over Easter – whether inadvertently or deliberately – will find themselves slapped with hefty fines for their trouble,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“As legislation and regulation governing Easter trading varies from state to state, the ARA strongly urges both retail businesses and their landlords to check the law as it applies where they are based,” Mr Zimmerman added.

Mr Zimmerman said that whilst some exceptions to prohibited trading times during Easter were allowed, these were extremely limited, and that it was best for business owners to double-check before they risked a fine.

“We know from retailers seeking clarification, for example, of a shopping centre in Sydney that wanted to tell its customers it’d be open on Easter Sunday, and sought to compel its tenants to trade,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Easter Sunday trading is illegal under NSW law, unless an exemption is granted. Traders who complied with this directive from centre management would be liable for a fine of $11,000 per business,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Mr Zimmerman said the ARA had taken steps to inform the shopping centre involved.

“The ARA understands that Easter is a popular holiday, and that people like to go shopping. Even so, the law is the law, and where opening at certain times is illegal, we wish to ensure our members’ interests are protected.

“Most states publish details of Easter trading hours on their websites. The five minutes it takes to check could quite literally save many retail businesses thousands of dollars,” Mr Zimmerman concluded.

/Public Release. View in full here.