/ Shopping

Sunday shopping – lose it or improve it?

London retailers want strict Sunday opening hours to be relaxed during the Olympics. Should more retailers open for longer on a Sunday, or should it return to being a sacred no-shopping day?

Current trading laws state that shops bigger than 280 square metres aren’t allowed to be open for more than six hours on a Sunday.

At the moment shops will have to abide by these rules during the Olympic Games, despite the expected influx of tourists. Retailers want this to be relaxed, otherwise West End shops alone will miss out on an estimated £90 million during the six-week Olympics.

So, it seems flexible Sunday trading hours could not only give us a better chance to shop, it would also give retailers a boost.

Sacred shopping or strictly saintly?

With that in mind, why not relax Sunday trading hours all year round?

I live near a 24-hour Asda but, despite its claim, this supermarket closes at 10pm on a Saturday and even earlier on a Sunday.

I’d hate to be ungrateful but, to be honest, I’m not really interested in 24-hour shopping during the week – I’m rarely in need of a late-night snack or tipple from Monday to Thursday.

However, I would appreciate this service on the weekend when late night socialising is more probable. If I was having a Saturday party, it’d be nice to restock my drink and snacks cupboard after midnight…

Increase Sunday opening hours?

So, why not let retailers choose their own trading hours? Obviously this would have to be dependent on customer demand. This is actually already the case in Scotland, where Sunday is considered the same as any other day (though many Scottish shops still choose not to open on this day). Why can’t the same rule be pushed out to the rest of the UK.

I must admit, there is something nice about walking down my home village’s high street on a Sunday, with all the shop fronts facing me with a ‘Closed’ sign. Sure, I can’t pop out for a pint of milk or a packet of digestives, but I can enjoy the silence of Sunday.

What about you – is it time for shops to open longer on a Sunday, or should we forget about Sunday shopping and return to it being a day of rest?

Should strict Sunday trading hours be scrapped?

Yes - shops should be able to open for as long they like (51%, 206 Votes)

Neither - they aren't strict enough, Sunday should be a no-shopping day (25%, 102 Votes)

No - shops should be required to stick to the current trading hours (24%, 99 Votes)

Total Voters: 407

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I don’t mind either way – I never shop on Sunday – in fact I don’t shop on Saturday either

Adrian says:
10 September 2011

In my opinion these restrictive laws are out dated and un diverse, it should be left to individual choice if you shop on Sundays or any other religious day irrespective of religion and the choice of the shop or supermarket if they open or not.

Louise says:
10 September 2011

In general, regardless of the day of the week, shop opening hours do not cater for the way the majority of us live and work. Most shops are shut by 6pm weekdays, meaning those of us working traditional office hours only get the weekend to browse and buy, or have to take a day of especially. Longer hours on a Sunday may help but I think the retail industry needs to look at trading hours overall. The Olypmic benefit will only be localised and won’t help the country as a whole, we need to consider what’s best for all towns, and one size will not fit all – a flexible approach is needed.


I would like to speak for the workers and their families!! I think they work long enough hours and reduced hours on a Sunday gives them valuable time at home. I work full time but the shops are open quite enough me for to shop, don’t let us be selfish and think of me me me.

Catherine says:
10 September 2011

It is absolutely absurd that shops close on Sunday when lots of people would like to shop on Sundays. I have an exhausting job and work long hours, so shopping on weekdays is impossible and on a Saturday, all I really want to do is have a rest and perhaps do some bits and pieces around the house. Only by Sunday am I starting to feel a bit more rested and ready to head out. But, as nothing’s open, I don’t bother. And, when I absolutely do need to buy something, I resent being forced to do so on a Saturday. So, in the end, I buy very little. I rather expect that allowing shops that want to open on Sundays to do so would give a solid boost to the economy.


Some interesting thoughts so far. I wonder Lynne whether some staff would prefer to work more on Sunday, and take time off during the week? I feel more sorry for staff who have to work through the night (like at my Asda!).

Just to say, I’ve now added a poll to this Conversation, so make sure you vote!

Sue from Lancing says:
11 September 2011

I remember when all shops were closed on Sundays. Only little corner stores were open and strictly no booze could be purchased. It’s about time shops were allowed to open all day on Sundays if they want. I am sure they would be very busy! Also supermarkets should be able to sell alcohol on Easter Sunday and any other “christian” holiday. We are not all christians and should be able to choose to buy or not to buy!


We lost something valuable as a country when Sunday became a normal shopping day rather than a day for family, rest and relaxation. As a Christian I avoid shopping on Sundays and try to keep it a special day. The freedom of some to shop or use other services on Sundays comes at the expense of those who have to work to serve them when they might want to spend time with their families.