Thursday 22 March 2012
The Commerce and Employment Department has recently received an approach from a major food retailer wishing to be able to open their large stores on Sunday 23 December and Sunday 30 December.
The food retailer have supported the application by citing difficulties with providing fresh produce, associated logistical reasons and increased convenience to customers. They have also stated that the day before Christmas Eve is traditionally the most popular day for food shopping in the run up to Christmas.
Under current legislation (the Sunday Trading Ordinance, 2002) convenience grocery stores with a floor area exceeding 400 square metres (approximately 4,300 square feet) may not to be granted a licence to open on Sunday and to enable such shops to open will require a change to the legislation. Before deciding whether or not to support this request the Department is seeking the views on this very specific issue from other retailers with large food shops, the Chamber of Commerce and also the parishes who administer the current Ordinance. However the Department will not be seeking to introduce legislation which singles-out one trader, any relaxation of the law which the Department might propose would apply to all traders in a particular sector on the particular Sundays as stated above.
Towards the end of this year the Commerce and Employment Department is intending to undertake a very wide consultation on the broader and fundamental question of the regulation of trading on Sundays and then there will be an opportunity for all stakeholders including the general public to contribute to that wider debate.
Commerce and Employment Department
Tel: 01481 234 567