Shoppers support Sunday trading hours

Shoppers have backed the Government’s decision not to scrap Sunday trading restrictions this Sunday (23 December) despite retailers’ efforts to extend trading hours to capitalise on the busiest shopping day before Christmas, according to a poll.

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More than half (53 per cent) of shoppers agree with the Government’s decision not to extend trading hours on Sunday 23 December, according to a study by Ipsos Mori.

Only 4 in 10 adults (40 per cent) agree that extended trading hours should be allowed this Sunday. Younger people and those with children are more likely to be in favour of extending trading hours, according to the poll.

Retailers including M&S and Sainsbury’s have stretched opening hours to give shoppers as much time as possible to browse and purchase gifts in the vital last weekend before Christmas.

Sainsbury’s will open stores an hour early on Sunday to give shoppers extra time to browse before the store begins trading. It will also allow shoppers already in store after closing time to make purchases.

M&S is opening more than 100 stores at midnight on 24 December so that shopper can shop for Christmas gifts, food and drinks at the last minute as well as extending trading hours to 10 pm or midnight at up to 200 stores from today (20 December).

The day before Christmas Eve is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. In an effort to maximise sales retailers petitioned Government to temporarily extend trading hours this year as the 23 December falls on a Sunday, meaning shorter legal trading hours.

Their requests were denied, restricting large stores to the usual six hours trading.

Mark Burgess, head of retail at Ipsos MORI, says: “Many will find this result somewhat surprising with those against removing restrictions still in the majority.  The 24 /7 society appears to have been with us for some time and we would have expected the British shopper to be more relaxed about the possibility of longer opening hours.  And yet, for the majority, this is obviously not so.  In fact, this is not just in respect to Christmas opening times.  We have had a similar result when we asked shoppers if they would like Sunday hours to be extended on a permanent basis.”

Ipsos Mori polled 1050 UK adults between 7 and 13 December.

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