18 May 2024, 21:24
By Furniture News Jan 12, 2017

Retailer panel: Sunday times (March)

From the momentous decision to exit the EU to Trump’s victory, last year was full of surprises. With the help of a panel of seasoned retailers, Furniture News looks at some of the most notable developments and their likely impact on the furniture industry …

Furniture News co-ordinated a panel of established furniture retailers to offer responses to a selected headline item from each month in 2016: Ross Beveridge, Archers Sleepcentre (RB); Mike Murray, Land of Beds (MM); Royce Clark, Grampian Furnishers (RC); Daniel Wade, Feather & Black (DW); and Steve Pickering, Sussex Beds (SP). A number of anonymous contributions were also made.

In March, MPs rejected a plan to extend Sunday trading hours for larger retailers. This is the third occasion in five years that the Conservatives attempted to permanently change Sunday trading regulations, and the third time they have been unsuccessful.

Should the law change? How might it affect your business?

SP: There is no need to change the current Sunday trading legislation. There are more than enough hours of opportunity to trade within the current timeframe, and, if required, out of these hours consumers have the options of using online channels – and good retailers will provide these options for their customers.

To allow extended trading on Sundays will simple spread revenue and increase costs, and, more importantly, impact on the quality of life of the teams required to staff the stores.

RC: I would personally say that as a retailer you should be able to decide when you open and close, end of story. After all, your overheads are pretty fixed (except for some extra utility and staff costs), so if you want to open 24 hours every day to maximise your return on the store costs, then why not?  

You can buy products online 24/7, and many of these businesses are not paying high street rates, so, to me, not being able to open when you want to gives them an unfair advantage.

RB: This idea of Sunday being a special day and that it should be held in different regard to any other is utterly ridiculous. This is 2017, isn’t it? Who is this rule even for? It is certainly not to suit the consumer, and with more and more of the UK workforce working varied shift patterns, additional shopping hours can only be a benefit.  

We live in a fast-paced, high-demand society, and it is about time these rules were changed to reflect the changes in society and the way people shop. These prehistoric rules are outdated, and increased shopping hours could inject more money into the economy and create additional jobs.

MM: Sunday is one of our busiest trading days, both in-store and online. Our multichannel strategy means we are open for business 24/7, 365 days a year. If there is a consumer appetite and the law changes, we would consider opening our stores for longer hours to meet that need. For us, there would be additional costs associated with staffing and keeping our premises open for longer, which we hope would be offset by increased sales.

However, we would also want to balance this against other considerations like the wellbeing of our staff, and their right to family life and downtime.

Explore the panel's responses to various events throughout 2016 in the year in review article published across the December and January issues of Furniture News.

© 2013 - 2024 Gearing Media Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved.