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Sunday trading hours... things could be changing

Would you open your boutique for more than 6 hours on a Sunday if allowed? Sunday Trading Laws could soon change in the UK.

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What are the current Sunday Trading Laws?

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 governs the sale of goods from retail premises. This Act restricts certain large shops from opening for sale to a maximum of 6 hours between 10am and 6pm. A large shop is a retail shop with an internal sales area of at least 280 square metres (approximately 3,000 square feet). This does not include the area taken up by storerooms, staff facilities and external displays.

Sunday trading rules for large shops in England and Wales:

  • Can open on Sundays but only for 6 consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm.
  • Must close on Easter Sunday.
  • Must close on Christmas Day.
  • If your Sunday trading hours are restricted, you must clearly display what they are inside and outside your shop.

Why could Sunday Trading Laws change?

Covid-19 has hugely impacted the high-street with non-essential retail being forced to close for 3 months.

On 23 April 2020, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, told the Commons Business Select Committee that he was considering allowing longer shop opening hours on Sundays to assist constituents for a period of one year. The precedent being the temporary changes introduced at the time of the London Olympic Games in 2012. However, there is opposition to this idea, from Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) and Bira (British Independent Retail Association).

Reasons for:

  • Kick start economy
  • Allow smaller retailers the opportunity to increase income

Reasons against:

  • Argument that the relaxation of Sunday Trading Laws will be detrimental to small independent businesses. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “We are concerned about these proposals; we believe it would be to the further detriment of the high street. It would reduce footfall on a key trading day – Sundays give independent retailers the chance to compete with the large chains.
  • Concerns about employee rights and religious beliefs


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