Budget 2015: Sunday trading laws to be relaxed

As part of the first Conservative budget since 1996, Chancellor George Osborne has announced that Sunday trading hours could be relaxed. As part of the plans, mayors and councils will have the power to set their own trading hours locally in an attempt to create an economic boost.

This isn’t the first time the Sunday trading laws have been relaxed, back in April 2012, the Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act was passed. This allowed for the temporary suspension of the current rules on Sunday Trading for large stores in England and Wales for eight consecutive Sundays during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Government indicated that it was treating the temporary suspension as an experiment with a view to quantifying the economic benefits.

DWF commissioned IRN Research and YouGov to conduct a survey of 2,045 consumers, we then produced a report exploring the specific issues around Sunday trading and multi-channel shopping. We found that very few adults (16%) wanted a complete ban on Sunday trading and around one-in-four wanted a complete free-for-all approach - that leaves a large proportion of consumers who seemed to favour restricted Sunday trading.

After the Olympic shopping Sunday trading hours experiment, we asked shoppers ‘Have you shopped outside of the usual, pre-Olympic trading hours on a Sunday?’. Here’s what they said, and also their views on the potentially permanent relaxation of the law:

Retail Stats


Retail Report

View the full report here»

It will be interesting to see what the new legislation will bring and how councils will balance economic benefits for small ‘vs’ large retailers, and public opinion for and against the extension of shopping hours on Sundays. Follow us on twitter @DWF_RetailLaw or sign up for our weekly regulatory round-ups to keep up to date on the latest developments.

If you have any questions on Sunday trading hours and how it might affect your business, please get in touch with Hilary Ross, Head of Retail, Food & Hospitality.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Hilary Ross

Executive Partner (London) - Head of Retail, Food & Hospitality

Recognised by The Lawyer as one of the UK’s Top 100 lawyers, I advise clients on compliance and challenges across the EU in relation to products, systems and safety.

Dominic Watkins

Partner - Head of Food Group

I am Head of DWF’s internationally renowned food sector group as well as being Head of Regulatory in London.