Jersey's larger shops could open on Sundays in law change

St Helier high street
Image caption Large retailers on the island could be given the choice of whether or not to open on Sundays

A Jersey minister has requested changes to regulations to allow large retail businesses to open on Sundays.

Currently 30 business on the island are prevented from trading, including supermarkets and department stores.

The move comes following an independent survey from November 2018 commissioned by the States, where 63% of 1,100 people favoured Sunday opening.

Economic minister Lyndon Farnham said the shift would be in the island's "longer term economic interest".

He also argued the change would be excellent for tourists and local consumers, assuring island workers' rights would be protected.

What are the changes?

The proposed amendment would permit Jersey's larger businesses to trade on Sundays between 10:00 and 16:00.

Smaller retail businesses are already allowed to trade in these hours.

If agreed, the businesses could choose to open as soon as September.

Lorie Rault of Jersey Retail Association argued supermarkets would be able to reduce waste, as they would not be obliged to dispose of perishable goods one day every week.

CEO of Jersey Chamber of Commerce Murray Norton welcomed removing the "restriction of choice" by the government.

"Whether or not to open will be right for some businesses based on individual economics," he added.

Image copyright Press Association
Image caption One retailer said the move would not increase sales but spread business over seven days rather than six

Chantal Gosselin of Rococo Arts and Gifts said the change had come "40 years too late" and if larger shops opened overall footfall would rise.

"The more shops are open the more worth it is to come into town," she said.

Ms Gosselin also pointed out a perception exists that Jersey was "shut on Sundays", meaning tourists felt they only had Saturday to shop.

However, Gerald Voisin of Voisin's Department Store did not believe sales would increase, rather that it would "spread six days trade over seven" and hurt profitability and productivity.

"It's strange that the States policy is to improve productivity but they give up one of the few tools they have to influence this."

Mr Voisin also expressed scepticism of the accuracy of consumer surveys, adding many shops already choose not to open on Sundays because of "very low" footfall.

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