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Retailers urged to tap into twilight trading

6 March 2024

Retailers will be encouraged to tailor their opening hours to reach more customers as the sun sets, following new research commissioned by the City of Melbourne.

The study, produced by the Australian Retailers Association, revealed an opportunity for retailers to cash in on changing consumer behaviours – favouring twilight hours.

Research showed a strong demand amongst customers wanting to shop after businesses have closed their doors.

The highest discrepancy between foot traffic and trading hours was on Friday from 7pm to 9pm, Saturday evenings between 5pm and 9pm, and Monday to Wednesday evenings from 5pm to 7pm.

More than half of retailers surveyed supported a change to core trading hours – which would see retailers open for business from 10am to 7pm Sunday to Wednesday, and 10am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday.

The Twilight Trade initiative will shine a spotlight on local and major retailers trading after 5pm – bolstering the city’s after-hours appeal.

City traders can register their interest in becoming a twilight trader online via the Australian Retailers Association.

Online information sessions will be held to inform retailers about the benefits, and businesses will also be supported by a marketing campaign targeting city visitors and students.

Twilight Trade is supported by the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund – a $200 million partnership between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne.

For more information visit the Australian Retailers Association.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“Melbourne’s twilight economy is booming – with foot traffic increasing in the city by up to 35 per cent after 6pm, as Melburnians clock off and make the most of our world-class retail, food and entertainment.”

“We’re encouraging city retailers to take full advantage of this change in consumer behaviour – shifting their opening hours to reflect when city visitors want to shop.”

“We’ll continue to support businesses with the latest data to embrace the city’s new rhythm, boost the local economy and improve the visitor experience.”

Quotes attributable to City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell

“Melbourne’s vibrant twilight and night-time economy has benefitted other industries and we want to make sure city retailers can also take advantage of that increased customer demand.”
“Entertainment spending – much of it after-hours – is up 60 per cent since 2019. We’re supporting our retailers to trade into the evening so they can also tap into this market.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra

“We know that global shopping destinations seamlessly weave retail into the fabric of city life and use retail as a bridge between the daytime and night-time economy.”

“The research we’ve done clearly defines a shift in consumer behaviour, meaning there is now more unmet demand for retailers after work than before work.”

“That’s why we are encouraging retailers to embrace twilight trading hours – to help drive sales, to create a more vibrant retail experience after 5pm and cement Melbourne’s standing as Australia’s premier shopping destination.”

Quotes attributable to Center Manager Melbourne Central Denis Ryan

“Melbourne Central adopted twilight trading hours over 10 years ago to align with the changing lifestyle patterns and evolving needs of our shoppers and retailers.”

Melbourne boasts a dynamic and vibrant nightlife, and with Melbourne Central at the heart of the city, our retailers play a critical role in activating a core retail offering at times that are most convenient for shoppers, residents, office workers, students and tourists.”

“We endorse a collaborative approach that supports the local business community and amplifies the city’s ability to provide a thriving retail and experiential precinct where people can come together for longer periods, which ultimately leads to economic benefit and community development.”

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