Independent retail boom under Marshall Government’s sensible shop trading policies

In a testament to the huge success of the Marshall Liberal Government’s sensible approach to shop trading reform, independent supermarkets are thriving and expanding with new, state-of-the-art suburban and city stores and a multi-million-dollar distribution centre three times the size of the MCG.

Contrary to the alarmist claims of Labor and the Independent Retailers’ Association that the “sky was going to fall in” as a result of the Government’s approach – with special Ministerial exemptions granted from time to time over the past four years providing greater freedom for shops to open when it suited them on public holidays – the exact opposite has happened.

Treasurer Rob Lucas – who has announced he is once again granting an exemption under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 for all shops, regardless of size, to open on Adelaide Cup Day public holiday on March 14 from 9am to 5pm – said in the past four years:

  • Drakes Supermarkets officially opened its $125 million, state-of-the-art distribution centre in Edinburgh North, employing a further 140 full-time staff (September 2019);
  • Drakes announces it will open a new supermarket as part of the new $30 million Lightsview shopping centre development (a joint venture between Peet and Renewal SA, together with the Lofty Property Group), which is expected to be completed by 2023;
  • Romeo’s opens Rundle Mall’s first independent supermarket, with in-house café, sushi bar, dumpling bar, salad bar, florist, deli and expansive walk-in cheese room and employing close to 120 full-time and casual retail jobs (May 2019);
  • Drakes Supermarkets is announced as the 2000 sqm flagship store in a new $20 million retail precinct to be built in the Springwood Place housing development, Gawler East (March 2021), with construction commencing late last year;
  • Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets’ Nick Chapley and Spero Chapley (Pasadena and Frewville Foodlands) unveil vision for the development of a new gourmet supermarket integrated with an on-site urban farm (July 2021);
  • Renewal SA advises that independent retailers are expressing interest in opening stores at new developments at Forestville (former Le Cornu site) and Oakden.

“Contrary to alarmist claims that the sky was going to fall in under the Marshall Government’s sensible approach to extended shop trading hours, our local independent retailers are thriving and growing at a rapid rate,” said Treasurer Lucas.

“In the past four years, we’ve seen new, modern independent supermarkets either open their doors or be announced for the CBD and suburbs, as well as the official opening of a $125 million state-of-the-art distribution centre housing 23,000 separate product lines – which its owners say is the most advanced independent centre of its kind.

“And this success shows absolutely no sign of slowing, with public statements by prominent leaders in the independent retail sector in South Australia outlining an exciting vision for future growth and expansion.”

In a social media post in September last year, Drakes said 2020-21 had been an “amazing year” with more than $1 billion worth of groceries sold.

Our growth has been really great as well, so we’ve been growing around seven to eight percent since last year so, really, all up it’s been an amazing year for Drakes,” said Drakes CFO Scott Lintern in a LinkedIn video with Director John-Paul Drake.

He said there had been high teen growth for the company since 2019.

Mr Lucas said the Government’s view has always been: “If traders want to trade, consumers want to shop and there are employees willing to work, then why should our silly shop trading laws stop them?”

“After four years of issuing exemptions allowing shops regardless of their size to trade extended hours on various public holidays – if they choose – our independent retail sector has gone from strength to strength.”

The exemption for Adelaide Cup Day will allow non-exempt shops in the CBD to open two hours earlier from 9am (to 5pm) and allow non-exempt shops in the suburbs – who were previously not allowed to open at all – to trade from 9am to 5pm.

Extended trading on Adelaide Cup Day is entirely optional and no employee can be forced to work.


Extracted from Steven Marshall Permier of South Australia

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