The West

The State Government has promised to relax retail trading red tape to allow more shops to qualify as small retailers so they can open longer and have more employees working at a given time if re-elected.

Six months after Sunday trading began in Perth, Commerce Minister Simon O'Brien today said a re-elected Liberal Government would increase the number of shops a small retailer could own and the number of staff they can hire, paving the way for more small retailers to be allowed to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Currently to qualify as a small retailer, a shop owner cannot own more than three shops and cannot have more than 18 staff on the floor at any one time.

Under the new plan, a shop owner could own up to four stores and employ up to 25 staff at one time.

The Minister said a range of retailers, particularly independent grocers, would welcome these changes, which would give them the chance to grow their businesses.

"There's always been an uneven playing field in retail ... today's announcement is further evidence that we recognise there are further steps to take and we'll continue to allow trading hours to evolve," he said.

Mr O'Brien did not rule out considering other changes if the Liberals won another term in office, including extending Sunday trading hours.

The Minister said according to the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, Sunday in Perth had become the busiest trading day of the week per hour.

He said 90 per cent of shops in major shopping centres opened on Sundays.

Mr O'Brien said Sunday trading has been a huge success, with more than 1000 jobs created and a 10 per cent rise in sales in WA last year - three times the national average.

The West Australian

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