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New proposals to prevent stores opening on Christmas Day in England ...
New proposals to prevent stores opening on Christmas Day in England

and Wales have been published.

The plans are aimed at preserving the special nature of the day as

competitive pressures could mean the widespread opening of large

stores on Christmas day to the detriment of employees.

Employment relations minister Alan Johnson said:

'Regulation will ensure that the special nature of Christmas Day is

preserved and that shop workers in large stores are protected from

being forced to work.

'We know that the vast majority of major stores do not open on

Christmas Day and believe that legislation now will avoid future

widespread opening of stores as a result of competitive pressure.'

Regulation of Christmas Day trading raises issues across a wide range

of parties and the government wishes to hear the views of all

involved before proceeding with legislation.


1. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 applies the following limits to shop

opening hours in England and Wales:

- Small shops (under 280 sq m/3,000 sq ft) - no restrictions on


- Large shops (over 280 sq m/3,000 sq ft)

- Monday to Saturday - no restrictions

- Sunday - Opening for 6 hours only, between 10am and 6pm

- Easter Sunday - closed

- Christmas Day (when on a Sunday) - closed

2. The partial deregulation of Sunday trading introduced by the 1994

Act appears to have provided a reasonable and enforceable balance.

The government has stated that it will continue to monitor operation

of the Act to ensure it continues to meet current needs. It currently

sees no need to review the operation of the 1994 Act in respect of

Sunday trading or to re-open the debate that preceded it.

3. The Sunday Trading Act applies only to England and Wales. The

position in Scotland will be considered separately by the Scottish


4. The consultation document is available on the DTI website.

Paper copies of the consultation document can be obtained by writing


David Swepson

Department of Trade and Industry

Consumer and Completion Policy Directorate

Bay 426

1 Victoria Street

London SW1H 0ET

(Email -

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