The Sunday Trading Act 1994 sets out rules about opening certain shops on Sundays.
Sunday trading restrictions depend on the size of shop and the type of goods on sale. All small shops and exempt large shops, such as registered pharmacies selling medicines only, farm shops, service stations and petrol filling stations, may open on Sunday without restriction.
The act defines a “large shop” where the part of the building used for serving customers and displaying goods is greater than 280 sq m (3,014 sq ft).
- May open for six continuous hours between 10am and 6pm
- Aren't allowed to trade on Easter Day or Christmas Day if it falls on Sunday (small shops aren't restricted)
- Must clearly display Sunday opening hours on a sign inside and outside the shop
Large shops in England and Wales no longer have to give us prior written notification of their Sunday opening hours or change in those hours.
Customer "browsing time" before trading hours
Sunday trading legislation doesn't mention this practice, which has developed in recent years. While it's not an offence to open the doors to the public before 10am, retail sales must not take place before this time.
Customers in large shops after closing time
If you serve a customer after the end of your opening hours, you're committing an offence unless you can prove that the customer was in the shop before the closing time, and left no later than 30 minutes after that time.
Further information on opening hours for retailers is available here.