Do we want to shop until we drop?

THE fight to stop Coles and Woolworths securing an even bigger slice of the grocery retail market has won a small but probably temporary victory.

The National Retail Association, which has been fronting the campaign in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, yesterday withdrew the application for the extended hours.

It's been no cause for celebration just yet for local IGA operators, who are opposing the extended hours.

"I guess it's a temporary reprieve, that's all it is really," Cheryl Denlargen, of IGA Noosa Outlook, said.

"I certainly don't feel it's a victory."

The supermarket giants, who together hold some 80% of the Australian grocery retail market, applied to have their legal Saturday trading hours extended by two-and-a-half hours, from 8am-5.30pm to 7am-7pm.

The extra hours would mean greater competition for the smaller IGA outlets, which rely on sales in those hours to maintain their weekly targets.

It's understood the application was withdrawn after concerns were raised about the placement by the NRA of advertisements in the Sunshine Coast Daily and the Gold Coast Bulletin, which was required to ensure the public was kept informed and had an opportunity to make submissions to the commission.

Fighting the matter is a costly exercise for the IGA owners, who collectively spend upwards of $100,000 to fight each application.

They intend to continue opposing the application.

"Absolutely," Mrs Denlargen said.

"We'll keep fighting it.

"It's a temporary reprieve and I'm sure they'll reapply."

EXTENDED HOURS

Major supermarkets want 12-hour Saturday trading

Smaller retailers like IGA fear customer and job losses

Coles and Woolworths hold 80% share of Australian market

Current Saturday hours: 8am-5.30pm

Requested hours: 7am-7pm



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