Sunday Trading Licence

Following the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act in 1994 there have been no restrictions on shopping hours - apart from Sundays. All shops are now able to open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday.

Restrictions on opening times on Sundays are now confined to large shops (defined under the Act as those having an internal sales area of over 280sq.m). The critical consideration is the floor area definition, which is clarified as meaning the part of the shop within a building that is used for display of goods and customer services.

Large shops must:

  • be registered with the Council for trading on a Sunday, and
  • specify the six hours of trading on a Sunday which must be between the hours of 10.00 to 18.00, and
  • provide a sign visible both internally and externally specifying the times of trading

They are required to remain closed on Easter Sunday (and on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday).

Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 also includes specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.

Apart from the restrictions mentioned above, it is left to individual owners to determine their opening hours in the light of customer demand.

Which businesses are exempt from registering for Sunday opening?

  • Public Houses, Off-Licenses and takeaways (opening hours for these premises are governed by their licence requirements)
  • Chemists and pharmacies - provided they only sell medical and medicinal goods and products
  • Shops in railway stations
  • Petrol filling stations and service areas
  • Motor accessory shops - provided the main trade is in motor or cycle supplies
  • Farm shops - provided they sell produce only from that farm
  • Exhibition stands

For more information or to inform the Environmental Health & Licensing Team of your change to Sunday Trading, please contact us on 01643 703704 or email

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