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Trading hours for retailers in South Australian shopping districts are regulated by the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 and Shop Trading Hours Regulations 2018.

Where a shop is located, its size and what it sells determines whether it is exempt or non-exempt from the state's shop trading laws. This in turn determines trading days and hours, including for weekends and public holidays.

Shopping districts

South Australia's shopping districts are:

  • the Greater Adelaide Shopping District comprising:
  • 3 Proclaimed Shopping Districts:
    • Binnum which includes the towns of Binnum, Frances and Kybybolite
    • Grace which includes the town of Mallala
    • Millicent.

Non-exempt shops

Shops are non-exempt if they are located in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District and:

  • have more than 200m² of retail floor area, or
  • are a grocery store with more than 400m² of retail floor area.

If your shop has a retail floor area less than either of the above (which would normally be an exempt shop) but you have an adjacent or adjoining storage area larger than half the retail floor area, your shop is also non-exempt.

Non-exempt shops in the CBD Tourist Precinct can trade:

  • until 9pm on weekdays, including part-day public holidays that fall on a weekday
  • until 5pm on Saturdays, including Easter Saturday
  • from 11am to 5pm on Sundays or full-day public holidays, but not on Good Friday, 25 December or before 12 noon on 25 April.

Non-exempt shops in the Metropolitan Shopping District and the Glenelg Tourist Precinct can trade:

  • until 9pm on weekdays, including part-day public holidays that fall on a weekday
  • until 5pm on Saturdays, including Easter Saturday
  • from 11am to 5pm on Sundays, but not Easter Sunday
  • but not on any full-day public holiday, except Easter Saturday.

Non-exempt shops in a Proclaimed Shopping District can trade:

  • until 6pm on weekdays, except Thursdays
  • until 9pm on Thursdays, including part-day public holidays that fall on a Thursday
  • until 5pm on Saturdays, but not Easter Saturday
  • but not on Sundays or any full-day public holiday.

If your shop solely or predominantly sells boats and/or motor vehicles in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District you can trade:

  • until 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays, including part-day public holidays that fall on those days
  • until 5pm on Saturdays, but not Easter Saturday
  • but not on Sundays or any full-day public holiday.

If your shop sells hardware and building materials, furniture, floor coverings or motor vehicle parts and accessories in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District, and has more than 200m² of retail floor area, you can trade:

  • until 9pm on weekdays, including part-day public holidays that fall on a weekday
  • until 5pm on Saturdays, including Easter Saturday
  • from 9am to 5pm on Sundays and full-day public holidays, but not on Good Friday, 25 December or before 12 noon on 25 April.

Exempt shops

South Australia's shop trading laws do not apply to exempt shops, which can trade during the hours that suit business needs, including on all full and part-day public holidays, if your shop:

  • is not located in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District
  • is located in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District or a Proclaimed Shopping District and:
    • has less than 200m² of retail floor area, or
    • is a grocery store with less than 400m² of retail floor area, and
    • has an adjacent or adjoining storage area no bigger than half the shop's retail floor area
  • is of the following types, regardless of size:
    • cafes, restaurants and take-away food
    • service stations selling a range of goods which could include goods generally stocked by convenience stores
    • hairdressers
    • ten pin bowling alleys, squash centres and golf courses
    • antiques, other than coins or stamps
    • live fish and aquariums etc.
    • paintings and crafts
    • bookshops and newsagents
    • pharmacies
    • cosmetics
    • medical and surgical appliances
    • florists
    • non-alcoholic drinks, ice-cream, confectionery or light refreshments
    • pets and accessories
    • plant nurseries
    • souvenirs
    • tobacconists
    • cash-and-carry wholesale warehouses
    • horticultural or agricultural shows
    • short-term charitable, religious or benevolent sponsored
    • agricultural machinery
    • fine art, either by auction or on commission
    • caravans and/or trailers
    • hire rather than sale of goods, such as video hire, machinery hire etc.

Special trading exemptions may be granted or declared on a temporary basis either on the initiative of the Treasurer or by applying to the Treasurer's office.

Special exemptions

Temporary exemptions from South Australia's legislated shop trading hours are authorised by the Treasurer and can be:

  • a single general exemption for non-exempt shops in specified shopping districts, often used at times of the year when many applications would be made such as at Christmas
  • an individual exemption outside a general exemption, by applying to the Treasurer.

Exemptions should not be overly extensive as to undermine, to any significant degree, existing shop trading hours laws.

Individual exemption requests are assessed considering:

  • extent and outcome of community consultation
  • special locations, such as exhibitions, shows, community or trade events
  • tourist and visitor requirements
  • amount and extent of prior public notice.

To apply for an exemption contact us for advice, with adequate time for parties to be consulted and your application to be assessed.