The sale of goods from retail premises is governed by the Sunday Trading Act 1994. This Act restricts certain large shops from opening for sale to a maximum of 6 hours between 10am and 6pm. It is up to the owners of those shops to which the Act applies to decide what their opening hours are and since February 2004 there is no requirement for owners to notify the Local Authority what hours they have decided on. This requirement was removed by a Regulatory Reform Order in 2003, in order to reduce red tape for retailers.
A large shop is a retail shop with an internal sales area of at least 280 square metres (approximately 3000 square feet). Store rooms, staff facilities and external displays are excluded and a large shop cannot become a small shop on a Sunday by reducing its sales area.
The following shops are excluded from control:
- Farms Shops (selling mainly their own produce)
- Off Licences
- Motor & Bike Supplies and Accessory retailers
- Shops at Airports, Railway Stations and Motorway Services and most shops at Ports
- Petrol Filling Stations
- Stands at Exhibitions
The Commercial Section of the Council's Environmental Health Section enforce the legislation and will investigate breaches of the legislation and complaints.
Further advice can be found in the Department of Trade and Industry Factsheet on Sunday Trading.