Sydney, Australia - July 25, 2013: The entrance to a brightly lit Coles supermarket in Ropes Crossing at dusk.

The National Retail Association (NRA) has welcomed the New South Wales Government decision to allow supermarkets to trade 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and is urging other states to follow suit. NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes announced the immediate lifting of restrictions on the hours that supermarkets can operate.

According to NRA CEO Dominique Lamb the move will help supermarkets better service people following unprecedented demand for essential items.

“Cutting red tape and offering greater flexibility on trading hours will enable supermarkets across NSW to better supply consumers during this period of upheaval,” she said. “24-hour trading will assist by spreading out the time available to shoppers to buy groceries and provide supermarkets with greater freedom around special shopping periods for the elderly and those operating in essential services.”

However, the decision does not force supermarkets to open 24 hours a day but provides the maximum amount of flexibility to ensure shelves stay stocked and shoppers can get what they need, Lamb said.

“The challenges being faced are uniform across the country and all states should be providing ultimate flexibility to supermarkets as they attempt to service higher than usual consumer demand.”