Sunday trading law changes: are they a good thing?

CITY CENTRE VIEWS 3'Looking ip Penny Street in Lancaster. 3
CITY CENTRE VIEWS 3'Looking ip Penny Street in Lancaster. 3
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The biggest shake-up of trading laws since the 1990s was unveiled in the Budget, with Chancellor George 
Osborne handing responsibility for Sunday trading laws in England and Wales to towns and cities.

Reporter Michelle Blade spoke to independent business owners, shoppers and supermarkets for their opinions about the relaxation of Sunday trading laws and how it could impact the local economy.

Michael Jenner. Queen Street News

“I’ve had this business for 24 years and I’m open seven days a week because I’m a newsagent. It will probably be of benefit to the supermarkets if the hours were a bit more relaxed.

“People only have so much to spend but I guess it gives them the freedom

“I’m not for supermarkets but you have to look at the bigger picture.

“There is, of course, the religious aspect.”

Ross Kidd, The Bay Bed Company on Queen Street in Morecambe

“This is a family business and we don’t open Sundays or Bank Holidays. I can’t see us ever changing that.

“It’s where you draw the line. We never considered Sundays because we are a family ourselves and like to have family time on a Sunday.

“We are open six days a week and do a good job, provide a good service and we sell good products and that is enough.”

Kinsey Aikman, Town House Gallery, Penny Street, Lancaster

“It’s up to individual businesses when they open.

“We don’t open on a Sunday, unless its the lead up to Christmas, when we open on a Sunday from mid-November.

“We also open on a Sunday during the January sales.

“I don’t think Sunday opening would be a busy day, we are open Saturdays which tend to be our busiest day.”

Margaret Driver, Jerome Celebration Cakes, Morecambe

“Sunday used to be for the family but not so much anymore.

“I don’t open on a Sunday because its not worth our while.

“I couldn’t afford to pay wages on a Sunday.

“People go to supermarkets because they think it will be cheaper.

“We are a small shop and are battling at the moment.

“I’m not going to be out shopping on a Sunday.”

Mariyana Vasileva, Mariyana’s clothes shop, Penny Street

“Physically I can’t open on a Sunday.

“I don’t think I would get lots of customers on a Sunday anyway.

“I can’t compete against the bigger stores and it does affect our business.

“If I knew I could get customers on a Sunday I would think about opening but you can’t predict these things.”

Mr Fletcher, from Rochdale

“I think its a progression but it might affect smaller businesses significantly.

“I’d rather shop out-of-town than in town.

“I think extending opening hours on a Sunday is a good thing.”

Craig Hunter, from Lancaster

“It doesn’t make a difference to me, I do my food shopping any day and it’s quite handy to go on a Sunday.

“Business is business at the end of the day, it’s a positive move.”

Tom Flemons, Atticus bookshop, Lancaster

“I don’t really like the idea of everything being open on a Sunday, apart from maybe Sunday markets and some smaller shops.

“We have opened in the past on a Sunday but don’t anymore. We tend to open more during the Literature and Music Festivals.

“I can think of better things to do on a Sunday than go shopping.”

Kate Wilson, from Morecambe

“If you are a shop owner it’s nice not to have any restrictions on your opening hours.

“I think you want your weekends free, have Sunday as a more of a fun and relaxing day.

“I only work three days a week so it won’t affect me.

“Even if I worked full-time, I don’t think I would shop on a Sunday anyway.”

Shirley Woods, from Whitehaven

“I don’t think Sunday opening hours should be extended because the smaller businesses are struggling enough as it is.

“I wouldn’t really want to go shopping on a Sunday, I would rather do some gardening or spend time with my family.”

Lancaster City Council spokesman

“Until more detailed information emerges from the Government as to who will be granted the powers to relax Sunday trading hours (Lancaster City or Lancashire County Council) it is impossible to say what the outcome of this announcement will be for the Lancaster district.”

A spokesman for Morrisons

“Many customers tell us they would appreciate a relaxation of Sunday trading hours.

“On Sundays, they can shop online or place a bet at a high street bookie but sometimes they can’t visit their local supermarket.

“So we support the idea of a sensible change of opening hours.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s

“The current set up is a sensible British compromise which works for both customers and colleagues.

“If the rules on Sunday trading do change, we would review opening times store by store.

“Inevitably the competitive landscape would lead to us opening our superstores for longer on a Sunday.”

Liz Hickingbotham, Lancaster BID Manager

“I am a strong supporter of trading on Sundays and see it as an opportunity for independent traders to increase their turn-over potential.

“The difficulty that a lot of small businesses have to take into consideration is the income that they may generate calculated against the cost of opening the doors (mainly staff costs unless the owner gives up what might be their only day off).

“There needs to be an investment for the long term: at the moment, the number of people in town on a Sunday is 70-80% of the number coming in on a Monday (monthly footfall data is available on our website at ) and many consumers are still of the view that a lot of shops in Lancaster don’t open for trade on Sundays.

“The reality is that many of the larger chains are open and small businesses could benefit from the fact that Sundays are the only opportunity for a proportion of the population to do any browsing or shopping.”

Brendan Hughes, chairman of the Morecambe BID

“I think the potential extended hours could be seen as a positive move towards the regeneration of Morecambe.

“Currently there is a lack of consistency with opening hours of some retailers in the town.

A successful yes vote to BID would look to work to get all retailers in the zone to work together to ensure a good retail offering all week through, including Sundays.

“If all businesses had similar hours on a Sunday it would improve the overall offering to our visitors and residents.

“We also need to ensure we have the correct signage in place to tempt our visitors off the prom and into the retail centre of the town to improve the overall economy and feel of the town as whole.

“This would also fall in line with the vision of the Morecambe Area Action Plan.”