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Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Sunday Trading Issues

To put you in the picture...the several councillors on the Adelaide City Council have been pushing for Sunday trading in the ACM for years. Council has had to have a 75% vote of support from the traders in order to enact changes to trading hours in the Market.
Until now....the 'Sub Committee'...the power brokers of the Market, made up of the Lord Mayor, Anne Moran , Centre Management, City Assets Manager, several Councillors and one trader representative have changed tack.
The new tack is to open the market on a voluntary basis. This is a backdoor way of introducing Sunday trading through default.
What I would like to see is the ACC statistics highlighting the need for the ACM to open on Sunday. This is a fresh produce market...not a place for a Sunday stroll.
Read on.....

With the introduction of Sunday trading at the Adelaide Central Market starting on March 4, someone has to answer the big questions.

The question needs to be asked ‘What’s in it for the Council?" How does the ACC expect to recoup the additional costs of Sunday trading? Estimates show the costs offering ‘voluntary trading ‘ are a significant drain on ratepayer’s and CBD Business owner pockets. Offering waste management, security, and power and management fees quickly amounts to over $150,000 per year. Include marketing and subsidized parking the costs escalate to over $200,000 per annum. Either these costs will be recouped through increased rents or higher rates to Stallholders or Adelaide City Council ratepayers will be picking up the bill.
Recent Saturday Market trading in the East End has proved to be unsuccessful and now will go head to head with another Council initiative, the Showground Farmers Market.total;3 City Markets!!!
Recent media suggesting Central Market is in danger of closure from Regional and suburban markets is scare mongering from City Council in a push to have Sunday Trading
The majority of traders believe the regional and suburban markets in fact compliment the ACM and show no signs of concern.
The regional Markets provide a great opportunity for smaller producers to sell direct and are a drawcard for Tourists and locals looking for an enjoyable way to spend Sunday. They also provide a nursery for new producers to showcase products in the early stages of their business.
The ACM provides a specialist service to the Adelaide Community with a range of products, choice and price difference that Regional Markets are unable to compete with.
The arrival of smaller suburban markets is a blessing for the Sunday Tourist and local shopper, too busy to shop at the ACM during current trading hours

Where is the research conducted by the ACC to suggest that people will want to come in to the city on Sunday to carry out fruit and Veg shopping? Is ACC merely acting on a ‘hunch’ that enough people will shop at the ACM, providing profitable trade for over 75 businesses?
Current door figures collected by ACC indicate approximately 1.4 million movements through door counters in the ACM. Allow 400,000 counts for trader, employee and delivery movements, this leaves 1million people visiting the market. In any month, there are 16 trading days. The average people movement on the 16 days 62,500. To achieve viable trading for the ACM, the minimum amount of shoppers, maintaining a family shopping spend could not be less than 35,000. The Showground farmers market attracts 4-5000 people on Sunday
All Stallholders have experienced significant rent increases over the past few years (to the point where the ACM attracts some of the highest rents per square metre in the City). Many Stallholders see the move towards Sunday trading as a means by the ACC to further increase their rents.
Voluntary trading will allow stalls to open should they choose. Based on trader survey statistics (see below), only several shops will be open. This will in fact detract from the goal of the ACC to provide a better shopping experience in the CBD. The Market is the most visited destination in SA and part opening the market will be at odds with the marketing currently being advertised by the Council. A part open market is not the message people want to hear or visit.
The most damaging effect of Sunday trading will be on the family operated businesses in the ACM. Making up 99.9% of the tenancy mix, the small family owned and operated businesses will be forced to carry the extra costs and hardship of trading another day. The majority of ACM business owners are already working a 60-70 week. Some even as high as 75 hours per week. These businesses do not have the support networks available to larger Rundle Mall and shopping Centre venues, such as supermarkets, fashion houses and department stores and will be forced to absorb the extra costs of employing more staff, rent increases, rates increases and trading on the whim of the ACC in an attempt to fulfill election promises.
These extra risks and costs will in time force smaller family operators out of the market.. The value of the businesses will diminish and many traders will elect to attempt the sale of their businesses, which is also at the discretion of the ACC to approve the sale and purchasing of stalls. This will have a serious impact on tenancy mix and will open the doors to corporate businesses being allowed to purchase the businesses. This will lead to an influx of franchises such as Leonard’s poultry, the Cheesecake Shops, Brumbies, Subways etc. This will in turn destroy the existing culture and ambiance that makes the ACM such a popular shopping destination.

Several surveys to the businesses in the Market have provided traders and the ACC with profound statistics that indicate a near unanimous rejection of the desire to support voluntary Sunday trading.
Results from an internal survey held by ACM traders shown below send a clear message on Sunday trading and further statistics indicate poor voting support at upcoming elections for a City Council pushing ACM Sunday trading

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