Retailers could stand to increase sales by £220m thanks to the relaxation in Sunday trading laws during the Olympics, according to Verdict Research estimates.
The temporary change to the law announced in today’s Budget will enable longer shopping hours and more opportunity for consumers to spend across eight consecutive Sundays. This will be particularly beneficial during the Olympic period when tourism levels will be high and it will enable increased spending from visitors that are only in the UK for a short time and who would have had their spending opportunities restricted.
While for retailers the costs of opening will have to be weighed up against any anticipated sales boost, some retailers already open their stores for browsing only, over and above the six hours they are limited to selling in, and these will already be staffed so the option of actually selling during that time will no doubt be beneficial.
However, in some lower footfall locations it may not be profitable but at least the retailers will have the option to choose. Smaller retailers that are not currently restricted will be hit though, as they will have to compete with larger retailers throughout the day’s trading.
The increasing of the personal tax allowance, also announced in the budget today, will be welcomed by retailers whose customers’ disposable incomes are under pressure. However, with fuel inflation still high and no changes to the planned 3p increase in fuel duty in August, consumers’ wallets will still be feeling the pinch. Many retailers will be disappointed to see that there is no help in terms of business rates, or a reduction in VAT.