Following the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act in 1994, all retail shops are now able to open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday and may also open on Sunday. Please note, though, that large shops - defined under the Act as having an internal sales area (i.e. the part of the shop within the building that is used for display of goods and customer services) of over 280m2 - have their opening hours restricted on a Sunday. On this day, they may trade only for a continuous period of six hours (falling between 10am and 6pm) and must provide a sign, visible both internally and externally, specifying the times of trading. However, following the Regulatory Reform (Sunday Trading) Order 2004, they no longer need to notify or register this with the Council.
There are some large shops which are exempt from the above Sunday trading hours. These are:
- farm shops selling produce from that farm
- shops selling, wholly or mainly, intoxicating liquor
- shops selling motor supplies and accessories
- shops selling cycle supplies and accessories
- a registered pharmacy, selling only medicinal products and medical and surgical appliances
- any shop at a designated airport
- any shop in a railway station
- any shop at a service area within the meaning of the Highways Act 1980
- petrol filling stations
- any stand used for the retail sale of goods during the course of an exhibition
- any shop which is not open for retail sale of any goods other than food, stores or other necessaries required by one person for a vessel or aircraft on its arrival at, or immediately before its departure, from a port, harbour or airport.
- shops occupied by persons observing the Jewish Sabbath
All large shops, except those listed above, 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.