Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Sunday shopping

I suppose that if I were so inclined - which I'm not - I could find out what the law about Sunday trading is in Germany or the Netherlands, in Italy or Spain.  But, as I say, I am not so inclined.  I don't even know what the law is in France, a country I visit fairly frequently;  I do know that French shops are, for the most part, closed on Sundays.  The exceptions are boulangeries (bakers) who have to open as French bread doesn't keep for 24 hours and they don't have that horrible plastic-wrapped muck we see in every supermarket.  I do know of one smallish supermarket that opens for about three hours on Sunday mornings, but otherwise everything is closed.

Despite the inconvenience of shops being closed, French people seem to cope perfectly well.  Yet here in England, supermarkets are regularly open on Sundays, albeit only for six hours.  The law is that only shops of less then 3,000 square feet may open for longer than six hours on Sundays.  But there are moves afoot to change the law, possibly allowing supermarkets to open for longer.  The argument is that this will mean more jobs and that supermarkets will make more money so they will pass on some of that to customers in the form of lower prices.  £64 million pounds has been mentioned.

Just who do those people think they are kidding?

Firstly, supermarkets do cut prices in an effort to attract shoppers from their rival stores but why should they cut their prices just because they are making more money?

Neither do I accept the premise that more jobs would be created if supermarkets opened for longer on Sundays.  Current staff would simply be expected to work longer hours.

And where is all this new business to come from?  The nearest supermarket to me is already open from 7.00am Monday right through to 10.00pm Saturday and then again from 10.00am till 4.00pm on Sunday.  Being open more hours won't bring in more customers; it will simply spread the customer flow over a longer period.

I try very hard not to visit any shop on a Sunday, not for any reason of religion but just because I think there are six other days in which to do my shopping.  I appreciate that some people must work on Sundays - emergency service staff, for example - but couldn't we just shut the shop one day a week?

1 comment:

joeh said...

Your economic analysis is spot on.