The opening of Sydney’s first Topshop earlier this month heralded the city’s unfashionably late arrival to the retail party of international shopping standards. Better late than never, I guess.
Tardy entrée aside, a proliferation of international retailers, continued strong showings from local designers and refreshing retail initiatives have seen Sydney’s staid retail scene finally regain some much-needed ground lost to the convenience, choice and freedom (pants and shipping) of e-tail. Now, in an effort to further reclaim your loving and affection, bricks and mortar retailers and restaurants will be able to stay open for 24 hours in the two weeks leading up to Christmas; that is, if the state’s planning minister has his way and the shops actually want to.
Today’s Telegraph reports that Planning Minister Brad Hazzard is proposing reforms to streamline the application systems currently in place which prevent business owners and residents from, well, executing their plans. One of the biggest changes would allow retailers to run for 24 hours during the industry’s peak season, enabling them to compete with the 24/7 services and crazy Upper East Sidesque profits generated by e-commerce sites.
Hazzard says, “Christmas is the busiest period so we want to try and move the system into the 21st century“, a move approved by Australian Retailers Assocation executive director Robert Zimmerman, who supported the planned changes as long as the world’s least enviable shifts weren’t forced on unwilling retailers.
The proposed changes sound like a more extreme version of The City of Sydney’s CBD Open Sydney by 2030 plan, which aims to extend retail hours to a less delirium inducing 8pm. While extended operating hours are a fantastic initiative to increase revenue, create jobs and atmosphere, and ply patrons with that hedonistic cocktail of fashion, booze and food, I would Hazzard a guess that 24 hour operating schemes are perhaps a tad excessive, even for the busiest time of the year in a city with a demand that would still pale in comparison to larger, actually 24 hour cities – the kind of cities that partake in Black Friday (see below).
While this is great news for shopaholics, opportunistic business owners and procrastinators, this is probably going to suck for those working in retail. That, and are enough people going to be doing their Christmas shopping at 4am to offset the costs (fiscal, emotional, impulse buyer’s fatigue) associated with operating well after the last night-rider has soaked up the most enthusiastic punters? If you work in retail, or if shopping at sunrise sounds like something you’ll inevitably end up doing this year, hit the comments section below with your thoughts.
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