Journal poll shows significant support for longer Sunday trading

Willow Brook Opening.

A reader poll conducted by the Bradley Stoke Journal has shown significant support for a change in the law to allow large stores to open longer on Sundays.

The news comes days before what is expected to be the busiest shopping Sunday for many years (23rd December) when large stores will be restricted to just six hours of trading, despite pleas from several supermarket groups for a one-off exception to be made.

The poll was started in the summer, at the beginning of the seven week period over which the Government relaxed Sunday trading rules around the time of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Of the 480 readers who voted in our poll, 233 (49%) said they would like large stores to be allowed to open as long as they liked on Sundays.

Slightly less than half that number, 110 (23%), indicated that they would like to see the current restriction of six hours trading retained.

Of the other options listed in the poll, 76 (16%) voted for keeping restrictions but extending the permitted hours and 61 (12%) said they would like to see large stores prevented from opening at all on Sundays.

Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre says the longer trading hours over the summer were popular with shoppers, who chose to visit later and in greater numbers on Sundays.

Centre Manager Scott Lahive told The Journal:

“Extended Sunday opening hours, whilst only temporary, did prove to be very successful. We saw customer numbers grow by 10% – 15% for the Sunday and did not see less activity on other days in the week.”

“The trading patterns for these six weeks provided an insight in to how customers really want to shop as customer numbers between the traditional hours of 10am– 4pm dropped 15% as customers chose to shop outside of this and later in the day.”

“It is debatable as to whether Sunday hours should be totally unrestricted. I feel that the changes in shopping patterns did establish a need for additional shopping hours on a Sunday. Customers may not want to shop much earlier but do want to shop later, 9am – 6pm or 7pm would fulfil this. If employees were not forced into working these hours and given the option to work that would safeguard individuals.”

“At the moment once the shops close people go home and shop online. Given the fact the restriction was only lifted for 6 weeks and it was a success, if it was made permanent this would grow further as customers become familiar with the extra choice.”

When Sunday trading laws were relaxed during the summer, retail workers were given the right to opt-out of Sunday working. Permanent deregulation of Sunday trading is opposed by the unions, who claim it would do little to stimulate growth or create jobs but would have a detrimental impact on the lives of millions of shopworkers and their families.

Tesco Extra, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

The Tesco Extra store at the Willow Brook Centre will close at midnight on Saturday (22nd December) and re-open for six hours of trading on Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. It will then re-open at midnight and trade until 7pm on Christmas Eve.

Elsewhere in the local area, Sainsbury’s has said it will open its stores an hour early on Sunday to give shoppers extra time to browse before trading begins.

Top photo: Shoppers rush into the Willow Brook Centre on its opening day in October 2008.

Related link: Christmas Opening Hours in Bradley Stoke (The Journal)

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  1. Methinks 00:01 on Monday is probably a pretty good time to do the Christmas grocery shop. Wonder if there’ll be queue of midnight shoppers waiting to get in?

    The demand from the public is proven – by both the poll and Mr Lahive’s figures. The least the government should do is allow slightly longer opening hours on Sundays in December.

  2. Why can’t people just leve it alone and let the shops close earily on sun in the Sumer it wasn’t a worth it only 20 percent of shoppers shop longer on Sunday and the staff are allways made to work unsociable hours it just one day the shops close earily it won’t hurt anyone

  3. @Robert Many more people such as myself are forced to work night shifts and/or 4on 4off/continental shift patterns. It can be increasingly difficult to plan ones shopping time according to the governments Sunday trading laws.

    And for those who you suggest are forced to work these unsocial hours to meet the stores required opening hours, you should consider those who actually need a job in the struggling climate, there are thousands of people who would take these hours of work in an instant should it be available.

    These restrictions on hours are so out of date from modern living it’s unreal.

  4. Sorry but think trading laws should stay how they are. I work night shifts and manage to juggle my family life and shopping around the hours. And yes my partner is forced to work sundays, and if he wants to keep his job then has too . But dont see any wrong in letting people who are forced to work these hours have a little time with there family.

  5. So you have never been inconvenienced by shops, banks and the post office closing Sundays, or only being open for a few hours only? Not to mention the weekend rush of urgent shoppers clogging up the streets and queues in store.

    The Sunday trading laws surely date back merely to satisfy religious traditions, whilst I greatly respect this, the world has modernised somewhat over the passing centuries.

    Besides, it wouldn’t hurt to give a few students a few extra pounds in pocket, there aren’t exactly millions of jobs out there and not everyone wants to work in pubs or McDonalds.

  6. Some of the comments around this I find interesting – I wonder just how many extra staff it takes to open Tesco (for example) for trading. Many staff are already present stacking shelves and running the store – and with self-service tills, how many more staff are needed? Surely just a small few?

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