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Sunday trading

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 sets out restrictions on the opening of certain shops for retail sale on Sundays.

Whether or not you need to comply with the Act depends on the size of your shop and the type of goods that you sell.

Large shops

A large shop is a shop where the part of the building used for serving customers and displaying goods is greater than 280 square metres (3014 square feet).

  • Large shops can open for a period of six continuous hours between 10.00am and 6.00pm.

If you own a large shop and want to change the hours that you trade on a Sunday you do not need to notify us. A notice specifying your Sunday opening hours must be displayed clearly inside and outside your shop.

It is not an offence to open the doors to the public prior to 10.00am, however retail sales must not take place before this time.

If you serve a customer after the end of your opening hours, you will be committing an offence unless you can prove that the customer was in the shop before the closing time and left not later than half an hour after that time.

Small shops

A small shop is a shop where the part of the building used for serving customers and displaying goods is 280 square metres (3014 square feet) or less.

  • All small shops may open on Sunday without restriction.

Christmas and Easter opening hours

Large shops are not allowed to trade on Easter Day or on Christmas Day if it falls on a Sunday. Small shops are not restricted.


  • Registered pharmacies selling medicines only
  • Farm shops
  • Service stations and petrol filling stations

For a full list of exemptions contact 01792 635600 or email

Food and drink businesses

The Act does not apply to the sale of meals, refreshments or intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises on which they are sold, or to the sale of meals or refreshments prepared to order for immediate consumption off those premises.