Deloitte comments on 20th anniversary of the Sunday Trading Act 1994
Commenting on the 20th anniversary of the Sunday Trading Act 1994, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said: “When the Sunday Trading Act 1994 was introduced, part of the rationale was to better reflect the changing needs of consumers. Coincidentally 1994 was also the year that Amazon.com was born, a company that would go on to play a major role in changing the way we shop. Over the last 20 years, consumers’ needs and their shopping behaviours have continued to change, with the process accelerating in recent years due to the growth of e-commerce and multichannel retailing. With the debate over extending Sunday trading hours, the focus should really be on how our retail habits will change over the next 20 years, rather than whether stores need to open longer on a Sunday.
“Mobile technology means now we can shop from anywhere, at any time. Technology can turn a shop window, a bus-stop or a train station billboard into a shop front, allowing stores to continue to trade even when they aren’t officially open. Then once we’ve clicked, we can increasingly collect from a range of locations, such as stores and lockers, at times that suits us. Some major retailers and delivery companies have already introduced Sunday delivery and we expect more to follow. Therefore a retailer’s opening hours are becoming less relevant to its success than the way it engages customers through different channels. This move towards an increasingly customer-centric perspective will also see more stores opening early in the morning and late at night to accommodate patterns of working. Therefore when a retailer considers its opening hours, it’s less about how long they are open for and more about when.”