On Sunday Trading

I’m not sure when shops started to open seven days a week, because when I was a child shops closed on Sundays.

Sunday was a day when society turned itself off, rebooted. It was a day for family, friends and neighbours. The day when people got their new things out; I remember the buzz of the first Flymo, admiring glances at a new BMX, watching a video at a neighbour’s house again and again, all with an Instagram haze. Blue skies, hot summers, protests and strikes – but always new technological wonders.

So I wonder if closing shop on Sundays might be the way to kickstart the economy. I don’t believe that, when it comes to the bottom line, shops are taking any more because they’re open on the seventh day. The amount of money in people’s pockets is the same if not less, and people aren’t spending more. It certainly benefits the big traders, as it gives them another competitive edge, but it has a huge impact on the quality of life of small shopkeepers.

And in a culture of working seven days a week and without any leisure time, are people buying the big ticket leisure items?

Would closing all but corner shops and newsagents on a Sunday mean less money in circulation? No.

Would it mean more time and therefore more money spent on leisure goods, from bicycles to beach toys, plants to patio furniture? Just maybe.

Would it mean more time and more money spent in seaside towns, and tourist attractions and elsewhere across the UK’s leisure industry? That’s worth £74 billion, employs more than 1.5 million people and that’s about 4% of the UK’s gross domestic product, by the way. Almost certainly.

And I suspect it would increase the country’s happiness levels no end, and increase community cohesion too. Let’s bring back a day of rest.


5 thoughts on “On Sunday Trading

  1. Actually, I think that staying open would help. As someone who works a full week, the idea of hauling around all the shops (with the rest of the world) just on Saturday fills me with dread – so hurrah for online shopping!
    If shops were open longer on a Sunday, it would reduce the crush and make town centres more attractive places to chill out…

  2. This is a subject my husband and I frequently discuss in the fleeting moments we have together! When and why did we as a nation decide that ‘family’ time was to be spent racing around shops with limited opening hours, spending money that didn’t need to be spent. We have replaced the time we should be spending with family and friends, talking, eating and playing and recharging with stressful trips to malls with teary children…..when will we understand that the peace we crave is right there, in our homes and communities and not in the queues at Macdonalds on a Sunday!

  3. I think the law was changed in 1994 – I turned 16 that summer and got my first (Sunday) job at Debenhams because they had to recruit new staff just for Sundays, as they couldn’t contractually make many existing staff work the extra day. We got paid double time, making my hourly salary of £2.63 into something more reasonable! I agree that Sunday opening of big shops isn’t really necessary….and the traffic it creates in many areas is a problem too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s