retail stores in saudiSaudi Arabia’s Labor ministry has made a recommendation to higher authorities to close retail shops by 9 PM based on a recent study.

Al-Riyadh newspaper reported that Mansour Al-Shethri, chairman of the trustee board of Riyadh Center for Small and Medium Scale Business Development said that a quick response was expected regarding the matter.

The study recommended that stores must be operational from 6 AM to 9 PM, with proper prayer breaks in between. The most noted benefit of this proposal is that it would encourage the Saudi youth to venture into the retail sector. The earlier closing times will encourage Saudi youngsters to invest in and operate retail stores.

The retail sector now represents the majority of the small and medium businesses in the kingdom. Currently, employment opportunities in the retail sector are occupied by expats, constituting around 66% of the total private sector workforce.

Al-Shethri is a member of the Board of Directors of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that Riyadh has one of the highest densities of retail outlets with over 35,700 outlets for every million residents, compared to a mere 2,600 outlets per million residents in developed countries. At a 16% annual growth, Riyadh has also seen the highest growth rate of retailers compared to 2% in developed countries.

Riyadh Center for Small and Medium-scale Business Development identified the impact of having a large number of retailers on the economy. The Center subsequently launched a study on shop timings while considering the interests of store owners, Saudi workers and consumers, and other government agencies.

The study involved learning the impact of changing store timings on sales and the ability to create new job opportunities, especially with the growth of e-commerce which does not follow any specific shopping hours.

The study also included a survey of young men and women employed in retail stores and those looking for jobs in the retail sector besides store owners and other relevant authorities. The study took into consideration the interests of all parties and different types of retail stores based on their category, size, and location.

(Image courtesy: Al Arabiya)