Longer opening hours on a Sunday could help boost Preston city centre according to a shopping centre manager.Advertisement
Andrew Stringer, who runs the St George’s Shopping Centre, has urged the city council to consider using new powers to relax Sunday trading laws.
Chancellor George Osborne introduced the idea in the Budget on Wednesday and Mr Stringer says round-the-clock Sunday shopping is “vital”.
He said: “We have got to move with the times and embrace this plan. Sunday can be one of the best trading days of the week in terms of getting the tills ringing. Sundays can be busier than Saturdays and this is evident when we look deeper into our shopping centre figures.
“Shopper’s habits have changed and the world is a different place to when the laws were originally introduced. Why should we be restricted to six hours on a Sunday? Online is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“There’s an argument to suggest Sundays are family days but they don’t necessarily need to be spent at home. There’s plenty to keep the family entertained both in the shopping centre and in and around the city.
“If all of the city’s retailers embrace the budget proposals it could make a massive difference and it could even the norm.”
Two retailers within the shopping centre have joined Mr Stringer’s call to see the cap on trading lifted from its current restriction of trading for six hours between 10am to 6pm for large stores.
Peter Jackson, managing director of Peter Jackson the Jeweller, said: “It is my view that every shopping centre should be able to open when they want in order to meet changing shopping habits. Everything we do should be decided by our customers not the government.”
Suzie Richards, store manager of Pandora, said: “It is something we would certainly be open to, business can be hard and we always need to look at other options and of course accommodate shoppers.
“In order for longer hours on a Sunday to work and benefit traders and shoppers everybody would need to get on board.
“I think when people know every shop is open then they will come, it only takes five people to tell their friends and family and for them to tell five more and the message will get out there. It could make a real difference.”
The decision to amend trading hours would rest with the city council.
Shops smaller than 3,000 square foot can already trade all day on Sundays.
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