The HTA is encouraging members to respond to the Government consultation on Sunday trading reforms which have been launched today (5 August). The consultation outlines plans to give local areas the power to allow large shops, including garden centres, to open for longer on Sunday.
The reforms would give metro mayors and local authorities the power to determine Sunday trading rules that reflect the needs of local people and allow shops and high streets to stay open longer and compete with online retailers. Under the current legislation, which is over 20 years old and before the era of online retailing, large stores with over 3,000 sq ft of trading space are prevented from opening for more than six hours.
HTA Chief Executive Carol Paris comments, “As we have emphasised all along a relaxation of the Sunday Trading laws is all about choice – choice for the public to shop when they would like and choice for garden retailers to open when they like. With online trading allowing people to shop 24/7 it is ridiculous that someone can sit and eat in a garden centre restaurant (which are exempt from the law) on a Sunday and order garden product online but not actually purchase products in store.”
She adds, “We have worked closely with Government to ensure that the voice of the garden industry is heard and it is reassuring that this has been reflected in their consultation announcement today which includes a quote from Hillview Garden Centres CEO Boyd Douglas-Davies who says, “Our customers want to be able to shop on a Sunday at a time that suits them and their lifestyle. At both ends of the day we have to deal with frustrated visitors at all of our centres. In the morning the ‘early-birds’ want to get on with the gardening and later in the day, visitors are forced to leave the centre at a time that feels like it is only mid-afternoon. Sunday is by far and away the busiest day of the week – this demonstrates that customers want to shop on Sundays.”
The consultation document can be viewed here:
The HTA will be responding to the consultation and would welcome your feedback and views to inform this process. Please will you forward your comments by 31August 2015 by e-mail to email@example.com even if you decide to respond separately?