AS the AFL grand final reaches fever pitch it won't be cause for celebration for many Victorian businesses, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).
The Victorian Government added Grand Final Friday as a public holiday last year to recognise the sporting event.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says many retailers will close their doors this Friday to avoid the strain of paying employees 2.5 times their regular wage.
He says the additional day of penalty rates places an unnecessary burden on retailers and the local economy.
"Holding a public holiday this Friday comes at a significant cos to businesses, which will be forced to pay higher than usual wages to operate their stores," Zimmerman says.
"At the same time, Melbourne CBD businesses will more than likely experience lower foot traffic as a result of business closures on the day, diminishing what was a peak sales period prior to 2015.
"Retailers will be faced with the difficult choice between remaining open and paying incredibly high penalty rates, or closing and losing sales."
Zimmerman says the sentiment has been backed up by research from Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which shows that in 2015 significantly large numbers of small, metropolitan and regional businesses were severely impacted.
Ai Group found 71 per cent of businesses incurred additional labour costs, while 85 per cent of businesses closed - losing a day of trade.
Zimmerman says feedback from members indicate little support for the public holiday, with many planning to not open.
"There will be no wages transfer through to higher penalty rates being paid or the traditional net benefit from tourism during AFL Friday as workers and businesses abandon Melbourne CBD to stay at home," he says.
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