There are special rules that govern the trading hours that certain retailers must follow on a Sunday. These rules are defined in the Sunday Trading Act 1994 and apply to shops in England and Wales. The Act restricts the trading hours for retailers with a sales area that exceeds 280 square meters. Small shops in England and Wales are free to open on whatever days and hours they choose. There are no trading hours restrictions in Scotland.
Shops over 280 square metres:
- Can open on Sundays but only for 6 consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm.
- Must close on Easter Sunday.
- Must close on Christmas Day.
Any shop affected by these rules must clearly display their opening hours both inside and outside their shop. There are also certain large shops that are exempt from these rules, including airport and railway station outlets, service station outlets and registered pharmacies.
There are similar rules in Northern Ireland, but large shops can only open between the fixed hours of 1pm and 6pm on a Sunday.