Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hypermarts should be allowed to open 24 hours then

If the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs says petrol kiosks in strategic locations must continue to operate 24 hours, why not allow hypermarts to open 24 hours too?
Since the Malaysian public tends to have a short memory, here's a reminder of the Ministry's stance on hypermarkets:

Publication Date: 08.04.2004
Publication: The Star
Section: Main
Page Title: Nation
Page: 24
Subject: Government
Keyword: Supermarkets

No more 24 hours for hypermarkets

KUALA LUMPUR: Hypermarkets are no longer allowed to operate 24 hours with immediate effect, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal.

"The ruling is necessary to protect small industries, market traders and grocery shop owners who are losing out because of the 24-hour operation by hypermarkets.

"We have received complaints from the Entrepreneur Development and Co-operatives Ministry and small businesses regarding this," Shafie said at the post-Cabinet press conference in his office here yesterday.

Shafie said his ministry had monitored the situation and conducted studies since 2002 on the effect of hypermarkets on local traders before deciding on the regulation.

He said all hypermarkets would operate from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and from 10am to midnight or 1am on weekends.

"It's sufficient that they are already operating 365 days a year," he said.

Shafie said it was up to the local authorities to ensure that the hypermarkets adhered to the new ruling.


Here were some of the letters from consumers protesting the ruling:

Publication Date: 11.04.2004
Publication: Sunday Star
Edition: Final
Section: Main
Page Title: Comment
Page: 34
Column: Mail

Ridiculous to restrict opening hours of hypermarkets

I AM extremely disappointed that hypermarkets are no longer allowed to operate 24 hours, "No more 24 hours for hypermarkets" (The Star, April 8).

I agree that hypermarkets do pose strong competition to small traders and grocers, but depriving consumers the freedom to choose where and when to go shopping is simply ridiculous.

Are we absolutely certain that by restricting opening hours of hypermarkets, small traders and grocery shops can breathe a sigh of relief? Most of these businesses close early, so where can we go if we need to do some shopping after midnight?

Believe me, there are some people whose daily routines are different from others.

Must I now knock on the nearest corner shop, wake the owner up and remind him that if he refuses my business, he is losing out?

Businessmen should be given the right to open and close for business according to their ability.

Many European countries have hypermarkets both in the urban centres and suburban areas opening for 24 hours and yet people still go and shop at the grocery stores near their homes.

Small traders there are wise enough to keep up with the times by striving to provide better service, a wide range of quality products and equally competitive prices.

Kuala Lumpur

Publication Date: 13.04.2004
Publication: The Star
Edition: Final
Section: Main
Page Title: Comment
Page: 29
Subject: Shopping
Keyword: Hypermarkets, Operating Hours
Column: Mail

Unfair to restrict opening hours of hypermarts

I REFER to the letter, "Ridiculous to restrict opening hours of hypermarkets", (Sunday Star, April 11).

It is extremely unfair to restrict the operating hours of hypermarkets because they pose strong competition to grocers and small traders.

This decision was passed not too long after the first 24-hour hypermarket started operations. I believe no investigation was conducted to prove that it had actually affected the smaller players in the industry.

I suppose the only way to find out the truth is to do a comparison of balance sheets of the affected traders.

However, this method is understandably tedious and impractical. The next best thing would be to do a survey on consumers.

Find out what they really want and, most importantly, whether they are really ignoring neighbourhood grocery shops.

Are the small traders really affected or are the hypermarkets being denied their right to profit from their niche market?

Kuala Lumpur.
(via e-mail)


Mudasir said...

This is sort of like the Blue law they have in some states in USA.

For an example in Connecticut USA, Alcohol Beverages are not permitted to be sold on Sundays, Except for Bars and restaurants. All retailers also have to stop seling alcoholic beverages after 9pm during weekdays.

The reason for it was never clear, except that Small business owners wants to keep it that way so they will not lose potential business on Sunday if Supermarkets who runs their operation 24/7 365 was allowed sell it.

This is obviously an anti-competitive and the only real victim here is the public.

Hypermarkets should be treated as any businesses. I'm sure those little grocery shops that open 24/7 at campbell street, penang would be annoyed if suddenly this law was to apply to them as well.

Chan Lee Meng said...

In a related issue, let us not forget that there are hundreds of 24-hour stores in M'sia operated by 7-Eleven and other copycat franchises. These are certainly not small businesses.

I certainly have some sympathy for "mom and pop" sundry shops, but the franchise shops are a different matter.

The logic used for barring 24-hour hypermarts should also apply to 7-Eleven, which is a multinational company just like Tesco and Carrefour.