DEREGULATED retail hours have hurt Fremantle in the past, but Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Olwyn Williams believes an extra 50 trading hours in the lead-up to Christmas will not have a noticeable effect this year.
As of yesterday, general retail stores will be allowed to open from 7am on weekdays, with major retailers also having the option to open from 7am Saturdays and 8am Sundays, and close at 6pm on weekends and public holidays. The extra hours will stay in place until January 3, with the State Government also approving extended trading for Australia Day.
Ms Williams said she did not believe trading hours were a key issue for Fremantle any more.
“The closure of Myer in 2012 has had a far greater impact on retail than the current batch of extended trading hours,” she said.
“The key issue for Fremantle now is more about attitude and profile shopping centres deliver a centralised branding for the offerings of the businesses within, but CBD Fremantle doesn’t do that.
“It is essentially hundreds of really interesting small businesses with one anchor major chain (Target) and some medium sized national chains.
“I believe Fremantle needs to take that same shopping centre approach to profile the retail and hospitality offering and experience across the CBD.”
She said Christmas in Fremantle had been underwhelming in recent years, and the chamber was looking to do things differently this year.
“The Christmas lights in Kings Square are lit, the true and best Santa has announced he is to take up residence Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 3pm, more than 40 business have dressed their windows for the festive season and parking Santa and elves are roaming the streets paying for the parking of shoppers,” she said. “While there are some national chains in the CBD like Target, Mountain Designs and Cotton On, what sets Fremantle apart is the really exciting independent retail.
“Fremantle is the best fresh air shopping centre in WA.”