Testing the waters with the gradual introduction of Sunday trading hours
IN the early 1990s, Sunday trading was more of a heated debate rather than reality.
It was not until 1994 that Sunday trading as we know it today came into force.
However, in the years leading up to the passing of the Sunday Trading Act of 1994, many shops temporarily trialled Sunday opening.
It was in the weeks before Christmas in 1991 that many stores tested the demand for Sunday opening with Burton and Swadlincote’s Woolworths stores both reporting “a huge success”.
A spokesman for the Burton Woolworths store said: “We’ve had two brilliant weekends. It’s because of people buying lastminute gifts, chocolates, music and videos.
“There’s no specific Sunday shopper - it covers everybody and we’ve had a very good December.”
Meanwhile, Burton’s Safeway store reported that the final Sunday before Christmas was its busiest day.
A spokesman for the supermarket said: “The Sunday before Christmas was the busiest of the four in December. It was very popular and influenced by the nearness of Christmas.
“We had 22 checkouts operating solidly for three hours at one point.”
The DIY chain B&Q had been opening on Sunday for a number of years and trade didn’t change in the run-up to Christmas.
A spokesman for the Burton store said: “Trade was no better than normal. We get it spread all year round but we do get a few people buying presents.”
Alan Collinson, the area organiser of the shopworkers’ union USDAW pledged to continue to fight against Sunday trading.
He said: “The only way to protect shopworkers is to close on a Sunday.”
He warned that soon many employers would follow the precedent set by Woolworths with the store telling its staff that Sunday was part of their contractual hours.
A notice on the window of Burton’s Tesco supermarket stipulates that it would open between 10am until 4pm but could only sell beers, wines and spirits between the hours of noon and 3pm