Since 1994 there have been no restrictions on shopping hours - apart from Sundays - following a decision by Parliament to deregulate shop opening times by the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994.
All shops are now able to open without restrictions between Monday to Saturday.
Restrictions on opening times on Sundays are now, under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, confined to large shops (defined under the Act as those having an internal sales area of over 280 square meters), which may open for six hours between 10am and 6pm and are required to remain closed on Easter Sunday and on Christmas Day, but only when it falls on a Sunday. Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely. The Sunday Trading Act also includes specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.
The Regulatory Reform (Sunday Trading) Order 2004 has now removed the requirement for large shops to notify local authorities of their Sunday trading hours or of any changes. Large shops are still limited to trading for a maximum of six hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays and must display these hours inside and outside the premises.
Apart from the restrictions mentioned above it is left to individual owners to determine their opening hours in the light of customer demand.
Easter Sunday and Christmas Day (if it falls on a Sunday)
The Sunday Trading Act 1994 requires large shops - those where the relevant floor area exceeds 280 square meters, to close on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day if it falls on a Sunday.
The Sunday Trading restrictions do not apply to the following types of shops:
a) any shop, which is at a farm and where the trade or business carried on, consists wholly or mainly of the sale of produce from that farm
b) any shop where the trade or business carried on consists wholly or mainly of the sale of intoxicating liquor
c) any shop where the trade or business carried on consists wholly or mainly of the sale of one or more of the following:
i) motor supplies and accessories, and
ii) cycle supplies and accessories.
d) any shop which:
i) is a registered pharmacy, and
ii) is not open for the sale of retail goods other than medicinal products and medicinal and surgical appliances.
e) any shop at a designated airport
f) any shop in a railway station
g) any shop at a service area within the meaning of the Highways Act 1980
h) any petrol filling station
i) any stand used for the retail sale of goods during the course of an exhibition
j) 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
k) any shop occupied by persons observing the Jewish Sabbath
Further information can be found at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) website.
For further information, please contact us:
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