Here comes Sunday trading
Dotti assistant manager Louise Hodgkins is looking forward to Sunday trading. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian.

Shopping in Perth will never be the same again after the long-awaited introduction of Sunday trading next weekend.

For thousands, it's a step long overdue, dragging the city into the 21st century.

From August 26, general retail shops in the metropolitan area can open between 11am and 5pm on Sundays.

With public support for Sunday shopping at record levels in opinion polls - 84 per cent in the last Westpoll - the retail sector is gearing for big turnouts at shopping centres.

Some retailers say Sunday trading will allow "pent-up demand" to be satisfied and that could add 4 or 5 per cent to turnover, as well as make Sundays one of the busiest trading days of the week.

But it is unlikely to happen overnight and how many shops will open is the great unknown.

Just because shops are allowed to open does not mean to say they will and the Department of Commerce points out that commercial tenancy laws forbid shopping centres to force shops to open.

AMP Capital owns or manages 30 shopping centres in Australasia, including Garden City Booragoon, Karrinyup and Ocean Keys.

_The Weekend West _asked AMP's centre manager in charge of the three, Darin Maher, what feedback he had received from shop owners on the new trading regime.

"Positive, with 80 per cent of respondents indicating they will trade," he said.

A tour of Garden City on Thursday night found most shoppers backed the move to open on Sundays.

Michael Brett said current shopping hours was "one of the worst things about living here". Mr Brett, of Baldivis, said: "There's no use having shops only open when everybody's at work.

"On Saturdays, everybody pours into shopping centres and there's no room to move."

In the main, shop owners were looking forward to Sunday trading and had either hired or were hiring more staff to cope.

Louise Hodgkins, assistant manager at women's fashion shop Dotti, said: "It's going to be exciting - everyone's looking forward to it."

Dotti had six staff but at least one extra sales person would be hired to cater for the extra hours.

Blue Illusion, a French-influenced lifestyle company has five stores in WA and more than 90 across Australia and New Zealand. Regional manager Kathryn Faundez said the WA stores were looking forward to the opportunity for extra trade.

Coffee Club manager Natalie Hughes is taking on another five or six staff and installing another coffee machine to cater for the expected increase in shopper traffic - not least because of the Apple store soon to open behind her cafe.

Croissant Express owner Denise Fickling won't be opening her cafe for the first couple of Sundays.

"I think there's enough trading days and our population isn't large enough at the moment," Mrs Fickling said of Sunday trading. "I think it could take 12 months to get traction."

Wayne Spencer, outgoing executive officer of the Retail Traders Association, agreed, adding Thursday night trading took four years to reach its peak .

"It will take the best part of six to 12 months for the message to get to everybody," he said.

Initial projections are between 1500 to 2000 extra staff will be needed throughout Perth.

Woolworths has said another 600 part-time staff would be needed for its supermarkets, with another 100 jobs created at the group's other businesses, such as Big W and Dan Murphy's.

Coles State general manager Mark Armitage said the new trading regime would create about 300 more jobs in WA.

The West Australian

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