All shops could be allowed to open on Sundays by September
JERSEY’S largest shops could be able to open on Sundays as soon as September – the Economic Development Minister revealed as he unveiled plans to overhaul the Island’s trading regulations.
The Channel Islands Co-operative Society said that it would be likely to open its Grand Marché stores under the new regime.
However, the move has not been universally welcomed by local retailers with Voisins department store, St Peter’s Garden Centre and Ransoms saying that Sunday trading would not boost business and simply mean longer hours for their staff.
Other large stores such as Waitrose and B&Q have not yet revealed whether they would take advantage of the relaxed regulations.
Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that he hoped the move would boost the Island’s ailing retail sector and help combat the threat of online shopping which has eaten into local profits.
The Senator has signed off a ministerial decision to bring regulations to the States to allow stores with more than 700 sq ft of floor space to open between 10am and 6pm on Sundays. Currently only smaller shops are allowed to do so.
Senator Farnham said that he hoped the new regime would be in place in time for the busy Christmas period. The proposition is due to be debated after the States summer recess.
‘As part of work we have been carrying out as part of our retail strategy, which is due to be launched imminently, I have signed off a decision for regulations which will give the opportunity for larger stores to open on Sundays,’ the minister said.
‘The regulations, which will be tabled before the States for approval in September, will allow stores with a floorspace of 700 sq ft or more to open on a Sunday for six hours between 10am and 6pm to sell goods to local consumers and visitors.
‘What this will mean is that people will potentially be able to visit garden centres on Sundays, larger supermarkets and places like B&Q should they wish to take the opportunity.’
He added: ‘I think that larger stores need to maximise their sales and to do that they need to open at the times when consumers, including visitors to the Island, want them to the most. If they wish to, they can close at other times to make up for it.
‘Our retail sector has faced a huge challenge from online retail – we need local retail to be sustainable and this will help.
‘If the regulations are approved by the States Assembly, hopefully in September, they will come into effect immediately. What I would like to see is this all in place for this Christmas.’
Earlier this week Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said that the ‘de minimus’ price threshold for online goods imported to the Island being exempt from GST could soon be lowered to £100, in a move also designed to help the Island’s shopkeepers.
Local retailers have long complained of a non-level playing field due to all of their goods being subject to the 5% levy, while those bought from the internet usually are not.