Following the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act 1994, there are no restrictions on shopping hours – apart from Sundays. All shops can now open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday.
Restrictions on Sunday opening times are now confined to large shops (defined under the Act as those having an internal sales area of over 280 square metres). The important factor is the floor area definition. This is the part of the shop within a building that is used for display of goods and customer service.
Large shops must:
- Specify the six hours of trading on a Sunday. These must be between the hours of 10am to 6pm.
- Provide a sign, visible internally and externally, specifying the times of trading.
Large shops must remain closed on Easter Sunday (and on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday).
Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 also includes specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.
Apart from the restrictions mentioned above, it is left to individual owners to decide their opening hours depending on customer demand.
For further information contact the Food and Safety Team.