Following the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act in 1994 there have been no restrictions on shopping hours - apart from Sundays. All shops are now able to open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday.
Restrictions on opening times on Sundays are now confined to large shops (defined under the act as those having an internal sales area of over 280 square metres). The critical consideration is the floor area definition, which is clarified as meaning the part of the shop within a building that is used for display of goods and customer services.
Large shops remain closed on Easter Sunday and on Christmas day but can open on Sundays but only for 6 consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm and these trading hours must be clearly displayed inside and outside the shop.
Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 also includes specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.
Apart from the restrictions mentioned above, it is left to individual owners to determine their opening hours in the light of customer demand.
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