15 years ago Sundays changed forever with the Sunday trading law being introduced. The biggest change for many people across the UK that had seen Sunday as attending Sunday morning worship, followed with a roast diner and family time together. And so it came that in England and Wales, smaller stores could now open their doors on a Sunday with larger stores being able to trade for 6 hours up until 6pm but not being able to open on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day.
In Scotland stores can pretty much determine their own open hours but people working in retail or betting establishments can opt out of working on a Sunday.
It was a massive step when the laws were changed albeit with a lot of resistance from stores such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer. Sundays had been a religious day for many, and also seen as boring for a lot of people especially the younger generations but now Sundays have become an exciting day with the prospect of being able to do even more shopping on a Sunday. If you are a shop owner you may have seen a difference is the type of shoppers on Sundays? Are people more relaxed as there is a developing culture of relaxed style shopping on Sundays? But for many of us a traditional Sunday is now a memory of how the day used to be.
In some towns across the country you can still see today a ‘closed’ sign on a Sunday and maybe even a Wednesday afternoon and they continue to go by the rule of not opening on a Sunday to keep with tradition. This is also the case with banks and theatres.
With more than 421,000 shop workers now working on a Sunday, 53% of people will go shopping on a Sunday with an estimated 14% of consumer expenditure including online shopping happening on a Sunday. Ebay is also at its busiest too.
Did you know that one year later in 1997 public houses changed their licensing laws for trading? Previously they would be closed between 3pm and 7pm but with the change they were able to stay open all day.
Sunday is no longer Sunday as is was, and for many they have never experienced a traditional Sunday.
So with the recent announcement by the government to look to change Sunday Trading regulations, which could allow councils to decide if larger department stores should be given the rights to continue trading later on Sundays. Do you think that these changes should be happening or do you think the trading law for Sunday should stay as it is? Potentially the changes to the law could damage the smaller retail shops in local areas, if larger department stores are able to stay open longer.
So with 76% of people now in favour of the current Sunday trading laws 60% of people want the law changed but to have further restrictions for Sunday opening hours.
So with the current proposal put forward and changing the rulings to a local level to be decided on opening hours it is critical that small business need to be taken into consideration too.
Tell us what your thoughts are on Sunday Trading Laws? Do you open on a Sunday?