The government is proposing to make changes to the Sunday trading law that they hope will help boost the economy, but we are concerned that this will mean yet another challenge for our small, independent stores. For independents, Sunday is still the least busy day of the week but that doesn’t make it less important to the bottom line.
Throughout this crisis, we have all been able to rely upon our local convenience stores to keep us going, to keep our cupboards stocked. Whether it was toilet roll when the panic buying started or bags of flour when the packaging shortage threatened our home baking – our local store has been open – nimbly responding to provide exactly what we need, when we need it.
Current Sunday trading laws restrict stores over 280sq m to open for longer than 6 hours. This means that larger supermarkets cannot currently trade for the same long hours as our corner shops. The supermarkets have huge buying power which means they can drive down prices giving them an advantage over small, independent retailers. During the hours that the multi-nationals are closed, the independent stores serve the community, supplying Calpol at midnight to an anxious parent, or early morning hot coffee for the commuter on the way to work.
Our Sunday is built around a day of rest, so Sunday is still the quietest day of the week, with stores on average taking 18.74% less than an average day’s takings spread throughout the week.
Store data tells us that newspapers and magazines are bought more often on a Sunday than during the rest of the week, 17.26% of newspapers and magazines are purchased on a Sunday. We can see evidence that people take the opportunity that Sunday provides to prepare for the week ahead, purchasing their travel cards. On a Sunday, the sale of travel cards increase by 53.8%
Our independent traders who provided so well for us throughout the peak of the crisis should not be forgotten about in the government’s decision making when it comes to a change in Sunday Trading rules.
Our local stores adapted to help ease the burden on those who were self-isolating, offering home delivery and web-based grocery ordering services like Basket. Their personal and compassionate service should not now be cast aside in favour of the huge brands who have the financial resilience to weather the storm.
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