Retail sector opposes reduced operating hours for shopping malls

March 31, 2010, Wednesday/ 17:05:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Limiting the hours that shopping malls operate will have an adverse impact on employment and turnover in the organized retail sector, Mehmet Nane, the president of the Association of Shopping Centers and Retailers (AMPD), has said.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency yesterday, Nane criticized a bill involving shopping malls, large stores and chain stores that was drafted in 2001 and has recently reappeared on the agenda. The bill, if it becomes law, will limit the operating hours of shopping malls in a bid to protect small retailers that face difficulty in competing with large malls.

The prohibition of shopping malls from operating after 6 p.m., for instance, will lead turnover in the sector to decline by 10 percent at least, he predicted, while the number of employees in the sector would also certainly decline. If shopping malls were also prohibited from operating on Sundays, employment might even decline by 17 to 18 percent, which means the dismissal of at least 80,000 to 81,000 workers, Nane said.

Discussions should primarily focus on whether or not this regulation works to the customer’s advantage, he continued. “As a customer who works six days a week, I do my shopping after 6 p.m. and on Sundays. So I believe operating hours should not be reduced,” he said. The organized retail sector works within the registered economy and follows regulations, he said, but stressed that rules should be to the benefit of customers.

Malls enjoy 22 percent rise in February turnover

According to a survey released by the Shopping Center Investors’ Association (AYD) on Tuesday, the turnover of shopping malls in Turkey increased by 22 percent in February over the same month of 2009. The number of customers, on the other hand, declined by 4 percent during the same period. Assessing this result, AYD President Hakan Kodal said it indicated the fact that customers do most of their shopping in malls. “We can say, in a way, that the sector has started to revert to its normal levels. The real trend, however, will be obvious in the second quarter,” he said.

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