Shop doors remain shut on Boxing Day

Liz Petrovski of fashion retailer Tramps the Store. Picture: ROBERT PEET
Liz Petrovski of fashion retailer Tramps the Store. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Wollongong stores will keep their doors firmly shut on Boxing Day after a plan to allow retailers across the state to trade the day after Christmas was scrapped.

Only stores in Sydney's CBD and areas classified as popular tourist spots, such as Shellharbour, can trade on Boxing Day.

The proposed change to the law had been before the NSW upper house, but was withdrawn earlier this week. Had it passed, stores across the state, including in Wollongong, would have been allowed to throw open their doors on Boxing Day for the first time.

The decision drew mixed responses from Wollongong's business community yesterday.

Liz Petrovski of fashion retailer Tramps the Store was glad to see the bill scrapped and said workers needed that extra day to recuperate after the hectic lead-up to Christmas.

"Give us a break," she said. "We want to spend time with our families too.

"It's supposed to be the festive season but it ends up being the stressful season, and we need some time to relax."

Toni Carusi, owner of evening and party wear store Jam Clothing, said she would not open her store even if the law allowed it.

"We've got enough shopping hours in the year, we don't need more shopping time," she said.

"For the wages that you have to pay it's not worth it."

However, Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) general manager Mike Leask said he was disappointed the legislation had been withdrawn, instead leaving inconsistent Boxing Day trading laws.

"Retailers in Shellharbour, Kiama, Wingecarribee, and Sydney CBD are allowed to trade if they choose to, which means that Wollongong and northern Illawarra businesses miss out," he said.

"The IBC will be looking to work with the NSW government in 2013 to revisit this issue to give retailers greater equality and choice about whether to open or not."

The IBC, Wollongong City Council, Tourism Wollongong and Novotel Northbeach lobbied for allowing trade the day after Christmas to create an even playing field for retailers.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association NSW campaigned against the move, arguing Boxing Day trade would put pressure on retail workers and take them away from valuable family time.