Councils rejecting all-day Sunday trading could have devastating effects, warns retail expert
In response to Chancellor George Osborne announcing in Summer Budget that councils will be given the power to decide whether all-day trading on Sundays goes ahead in their constituencies, a Birmingham City University retail expert is warning of the consequences of making the wrong decision.
Chris Edger, retail expert and Professor of Multi-Unit Leadership at Birmingham City University, said: “ The announcement by the Chancellor that shops over 3000 square feet will be able to trade all day on Sunday will obviously disappoint opponents who cited the fact that the move would damage small convenience stores through greater competition, hit retail workers with longer ‘unsocial hours’ and merely switch consumption patterns to other timeslots without increasing the size of the market.
“However, we must look at consumer behaviour here. Market research provided Mintel states that Sunday is the second biggest day of the retail week behind Saturday. Large stores already open their doors for 30 minutes of browsing time on a Sunday before their permitted six hours trading between 10am and 6pm. Clearly there is high demand on a Sunday.
“The Chancellor placing the decision for all-day Sunday trading in the hands of local councils and mayors may prove to be a tricky decision for some to make and it shouldn’t be rushed.
“Councils deciding to reject all-day opening will find that consumers will vote with their feet, visiting alternative shopping malls and retail parks that are open for business all day. This could potentially have devastating impacts on communities that shoppers then steer clear of. In the end though, convergence is bound to occur – it’s what the consumer wants!”