Sunday shopping hours are set to increase. What does this mean for retail?


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Relaxing Sunday trading laws will allow high street retailers to compete against supermarkets, shopping centres and online retailers.

Currently Under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, shops with a floor space of more than 3,000 sq ft are allowed to open on Sundays but are restricted to six hours. Smaller shops such as convenience stores can set their own hours.

For most big name retailers this news is welcomed. Dixons Carphone group chief executive Sebastian James was quoted saying: "We welcome the proposals. On the whole, more flexibility for businesses and customers is a good thing."

According to James Lowman, the chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, the new proposed laws will be of no benefit: “Longer opening hours on a Sunday only results in trade being diverted from smaller stores to larger stores, with no overall benefit in sales to the UK economy”.

The plans will see new powers given to local authorities which will allow them to implement zoning measures and apply different regulation rules for certain areas in their constituency.

The British Retail Consortium has stressed that the government will need to put measures in place to safeguard local areas and avoid chaos.

The precautionary measures proposed by the BRC include local impact assessments, consultations with local citizens, a ballot of local businesses to determine support for relaxed hours and an appeals system for businesses that believe they have been unfairly treated.

Without enough safeguards in place the devolution of these powers could cause significant problems for local retailers and have a knock on effect for other industries such as manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, and facilities management.

What does it mean for FM?

Longer trading hours mean more demand for FM, especially cleaning and security - with increased footfall comes increased chances of thefts, antisocial behavior, and a greater need for maintenance.

FM companies may face issues with staff as Sunday is culturally the UK’s day of rest. More flexible employees may demand a larger amount of pay for working what would typically be their day off.

With a large pool of well trained, experienced, reliable employees to chose from, the retail sector will continue to be offered the best service with maximum flexibility and proficiency from Cordant Services.