Michala Stenzel thinks Toowoomba major retailers should be open an extra day.
Michala Stenzel thinks Toowoomba major retailers should be open an extra day. Bev Lacey
SUNDAY trading could start in Toowoomba before the end of this year.

Myer, Woolworths and other major retailers are pushing for seven-day shopping, with their case headed to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission next Monday.

A similar bid failed in 2005, but National Retail Association corporate services director Jed Moore said there was "no logical reason" history would repeat itself.

"There’s an inequity in the current system whereby you’ve got homemaker centres, major hardware stores, discount retailers and independent stores able to trade seven days, and only a select group (businesses with more than 60 employees) denied," he said.

QIC, the owners of Gardentown and Grand Central shopping centres, have supported the proposal, along with Target, Big W, Kmart and Coles.

Small business owners like Elizabeth Gillam don’t need Sunday trading — sales at her Toowoomba Boost Juice are already in the top 10 per cent in Australia.

It’s a similar story in her busy Grand Central Bucking Bull and Healthy Habits franchises.

"An extra day doesn’t mean sales go up," she said. "People have only got so much money to spend."

The issue was as much about lifestyle as the ledger.

"I love waking up on Sunday knowing I won’t have any staff ringing me saying they can’t come in. I appreciate the day of rest," she said.

And she was concerned for the future of Westridge, Wilsonton IGA and other businesses that already open Sundays and benefit from the lack of competition.

Businessman Angus Irwin was also against the proposition. He is able to trade seven days at his The Right Space home wares store in the Betroth Centre, but chooses not to.

"When we open on the Sunday three weeks before Christmas we make a loss," he said.

He forecast a 15% increase in his wage bill if his House store in Grand Central is forced to open.

"And the best case scenario is we cover costs," he said.

The issue has historically divided the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce.

President Shane Charles said 62% of members were in favour of Sunday trading when surveyed in 2008.

But the organisation did not have an official stance, because the business community was so divided.

Mr Charles said the group would commission a new survey in the lead up to hearings by the industrial commission.

A decision could be made by September, with a start date before the end of the year.

Shopper Michaela Stensen had the final say.

"The convenience factor is a major plus," she said.

"And it would be good (for retail workers) to get penalty rates."

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