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‘Extended Sunday opening may well make a difference’

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that the Government will relax Sunday trading laws for an eight-week period around the Olympics and Paralympics.

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that the Government will relax Sunday trading laws for an eight-week period around the Olympics and Paralympics. So, is this a good thing and will it actually make a difference to fashion retail sales?

I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement. Many fashion chains are having a tough time and it seems a no-brainer that this move will boost sales during the Olympics. In some locations – Westfield Stratford of course, but also the West End – this boost should be substantial.

Will sales outside London rise?

We think they should. Evidence shows fashion clothing spend is not fixed – it is a discretionary purchase.

A combination of good weather, a feel-good Olympic factor and extended Sunday opening may well make a difference between a woman buying that extra summer skirt or not.

Given this, should Sunday trading laws be relaxed permanently? International experience is mixed – sometimes longer Sunday trading has simply cannibalised other trading days. But for fashion retailing, surely having shops open when people want to buy things must make a difference?

Whether you feel that having this business benefit outweighs the disruption to your family time on Sundays is another question…

  • Philip George, Head of strategy division at marketing firm Pragma (part of the St Ives Group)

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