Sunday is the new Saturday: Sunday Trading Reforms AndIts Effects on Family-run SMEs, Employees and ConsumersAuthor: Dr. Hina KhanDr Khan is a Lecturer in Marketing for International Operation for the Lancaster UniversityManagement School, Lancaster University, UK. She also works as an Independent MarketingConsultant. She is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Small Business and EnterpriseDevelopment and reviews papers for the Academy of Marketing Science, InternationalMarketing Review and Journal of Services Marketing. Her research interests are consumerbuying behaviour, small and medium size enterprise development and emerging markets. Shewas awarded an outstanding reviewer 2012 award for her contribution to the Journal of SmallBusiness and Enterprise Development and was also one of the three finalists for Lloyds TSBJewel Award in 2007. She has published in international journals. She presents papers andchairs sessions at international conferences regularly.Dr. Hina KhanLecturer in Marketing for International OperationsDepartment of Marketing, LUMSRoom D39, Charles Carter BuildingLancaster University Lancaster,UK LA1 4YXEmail: [email protected]: PhD; MBA; PG Dip; B.Com; PCAPL1
Sunday is the new Saturday: Sunday Trading Reforms AndIts Effects on Family-run SMEs, Employees and ConsumersAbstractPurpose – This research investigated consumers, family-run small businesses (SMEs) and theiremployees’ perceptions and attitude towards reform of the Sunday trading act in Britain.Design/methodology/approach – A multi-method approach was employed to collect data inthis study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 family-run small businessowners/managers, 25 employees and 30 consumers. A survey was also conducted amongst 385consumers and 279 employees. A convenience sampling method was used to collect data.Interview data was analysed by using content analysis and survey data was analysed by usingdescriptive statistics.Findings – The results demonstrate considerable support for extending Sunday trading hours.Most of the arguments against the reform were found to be redundant. The findings suggest thatin contemporary Britain, the restricted Sunday Trading hours are perceived to be outdated andinconvenient.Research limitations/implications –The findings demonstrate that a paradigm shift is neededto meet and understand the changing market conditions. This exploratory study is limited tothe UK. Future research will be extended to other European countries.Originality/value – This is the first academic study to investigate the current debate regardingthe deregulation of the Sunday Trading hours. This study highlighted the psychographicchanges and socio-economic demand in the marketplace. Sunday trading offers different typesof benefits to consumers, employees and SMEs. The study proposed an original model thatcategorised these benefits into three major levels; primary benefits; ancillary benefits; andultimate benefits.Keywords – Sunday Trading Act, Reform, Small Family Businesses, Employees Perspectives,Consumer Motives, Psychographic Changes, Socio-economic DemandPaper type - Research paper2
1.IntroductionA number of recent empirical studies have investigated relevant aspects of family-owned andmanaged Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the specific competitive challengesthat they face in the global marketplace (Newbert and Craig, 2017; Measson and CampbellHunt, 2015; Miller and Le Breton-Miller, 2014; Nummela et al., 2006; Khan and Bamber,2007). However, research studies that focus on marketing and operational perspectives ingeneral and the implications of Sunday trading on family-run SMEs in particular are relativelyscarce. There exists a notable paucity of research on the direct and indirect effects of Sundaytrading upon SMEs, employees and consumers in Britain. Although, there have been somestudies conducted in the UK by the Government agency and various pressure groups (e.g., tradeunions, retailers, councils and Members of Parliament), most of the specialist literature relatesto a period that is prior to the introduction of the 1994 Sunday Trading Act. To bridge theknowledge gap, this research study sets out to explore pertinent arguments made in favour, aswell as against, Sunday Trading by a wide variety of stakeholders, including: academics,researchers, policy makers and business owner/managers since the act was introduced in 1994.Any shift in political direction which results in a change of attitude to public policy,how competitors adopt and react to change, innovations in technology challenging the dynamicof restrictions on control of retail purchasing hours and changes in consumer attitudes whichcould as a result threaten high street retailing’s existence. All could have destructive effects onSMEs market share and ability to maintain their competitive position in the marketplace. It isparamount that SME’s adapt to these changes in the business environment which they operatein and stay in touch with future retail trends and changing consumer shopping characteristics.However, one of the crucial attributes of a successful SME is to be innovative with products orservice offerings to meet new market demands, to boost efficiency by developing newcompetencies in order to increase total sales and remain competitive.Hence, this research study investigated recent debates about the proposed reformationof the Sunday trading act, related trends, key concerns and its effect upon three majorstakeholders:(i) consumers(ii) employees(iii) family-owned and managed SMEs.3
2.Theoretical background2.1The impact of Sunday trading reforms on family-run small and mediumsize businessesIn England, until 1994, the Shops Act (1950) mandated restrictions on the types of shops thatcould open and the categories of goods that could be sold on certain days. For example, onSundays, Chinese takeaway shops could open while fish and chip stores could not. Consumerscould purchase magazines, but not books (Burke and Shackleton 1989). The introduction ofthe Sunday Trading Act in 1994 attempted to clarify the confusing situation and enabled largeshops to trade for a maximum of six hours continuously between 10:00AM and 6:00PM onSundays. The rights of the employees who work on Sundays were protected, so no employeecould be sanctioned due to refusal to work on Sundays (Halsall 1994). Concerted efforts, byretailers, to further extend Sunday trading hours in 2006, resulted in the Department of Tradeand Industry commissioning an independent analysis of the costs and benefits related to easingSunday shopping restrictions (Williamson et al., 2006). Although the government concludedthat at that time there was no substantial demand for further change, some retailers continuedto campaign for deregulation (Allen 2009; Eleftheriou-Smith, 2016).In 2016, previous British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, planned toreform the Sunday trading laws as they have not been updated since they were introduced morethan 20 years ago. He suggested that the transformation would boost the economy. He plannedto empower councils and elected mayors, to be able to decide whether shops could be openlonger on Sunday, in order to boost the local economy and help high street shops to competewith online retailers. However, the plans were criticised for being “anti-family, anti-smallbusiness, anti-workers, discouraging community involvement/activities and religiousobservance” (Mason, 2016). The British Government at the time was defeated by 31 votes asit could not achieve a majority vote to implement the reforms.Concerns were also raised that longer trading hours on Sunday would likely to benefitthe larger out-of-town super-stores. It was feared that the 24 hours trading would divert thebusiness opportunities from the high street and small independent retailers towards the retailparks (Mason, 2016). Therefore, profit opportunities for SMEs would decline, operational costswould increase and some small shops would be forced to close down.4
A cross-party pressure group which consisted of 150 council leaders and 40 MPs wroteto the Government, calling on them to reform Sunday trading laws as it could give an economicboost of around 1.4 billion as well as increase in employment across the country. It stressedthat since the 1994 reforms, the people’s life style had changed fundamentally. The researchalso found that 44% of the people were shopping on Sundays and it was now the second busiestday of the week. The restricted Sunday trading hours were harming the economy (McCann,2016)Sweden, Slovenia and Croatia has unrestricted Sunday trading hours. Finlandcompletely abolished Sunday trading restrictions in 2015 and France relaxed Sunday tradinghours in 2009. However, Norway, Germany and Austria still have restricted Sunday tradinghours, to mention but a few countries (EuroCommerce 2017; Hakkarainen et al., 2015; Samuel2009). In Germany, its Constitutional Court even ruled that from 2010, German retailers mustclose on Sundays which should be protected as a day of rest from work and for ‘spiritualelevation’ (Dowling 2009).The Centre for Economic Performance published an academic study conducted byGenakos and Danchev (2015). They employed a difference-in-difference framework andcollected data by employing Sunday regulation indicators from 30 European countries rangingfrom most restricted to least restricted Sunday trading hours from the period of 1999 to 2013.The study found positive economic impact on employment, opportunities for business growthand competitive pricing, where Sunday trading hours were least restricted.Thus, this study aims to contribute to the specialist literature by examining andhighlighting the key issues concerning reformation of the Sunday trading act. This advancesthe research by defining the areas that need to be investigated further. It has now been almost23 years since the Sunday Trading Act 1994 was passed in the UK; the majority of businessesare now open almost every Sunday. Consumers seem to have embraced the idea of Sundayshopping, which is one of the reasons why currently, many retailers are calling for an extensionon Sunday trading hours (Khan et al., 2011). Whilst there may well be many customersshopping on Sundays, it remains to be seen whether these customers are simply not buyingthrough the week and only choosing to shop on Sundays, with the effect of diluting sales overa longer period. Tauber (1972, p.49) argued that “In the future, the ability to gain a distinctdifferential advantage may depend on catering to shopping motives that are not productrelated.” In today’s highly competitive marketplace, if family-run SMEs take no notice of the5
current psychographic factors (consumer values, attitude, buying habits and lifestyle) that aredriving this socio-economic demand in the marketplace, they risk lagging behind.Looking further afield, in America and some states of Australia, retail stores are openlonger on Sundays. However, in many European countries stores still remain closed or onlyopen for restricted number of hours on Sunday. But, there is a vigorous ongoing debate on thereformation of Sunday trading hours. Similarly, in their study, Gruber and Hungerman (2008)stated that deregulated Sunday trading hours increases the opportunity cost of religiousattendance and donations by offering alternatives for work, leisure and consumption. Theyfound that in American states where a state reformed Sunday trading restrictions, both religiousattendance and church donations reduced. The study also found an increase in drinking anddrug use only amongst initially religious people. Nonetheless, in countries like Finland whereSunday retail trading is completely deregulated, there are restrictions imposed on the sale ofalcohol after certain hours (EuroCommerce 2017). Currently in the UK, Off Licence shops arepermitted to sell alcohol until 10:30PM – 11:00PM on Sunday. Public houses (Pubs) andrestaurants also serve alcohol till late on Sunday. So, it does not seem to have any relevantimplications for the UK.However, The Financial Times Deutschland criticised the German court’s ruling forstimulating emotional debate about Sunday trading (see Dowling 2009). It stated that while itis of paramount importance to have a freedom to practice a religious belief, it is unwise to usea religion-based approach towards Sunday trading as the structure of society has changedfundamentally, with many people are now co-habiting without getting married or living on theirown. It seems like an invasion on people’s rights and economic freedom. The ruling was alsocriticised for neglecting the shop owners concerns who want to encourage customers to visittheir stores rather than shop online. The freedom and choice should be given to consumers asto whether they would want to attend church, rather spend time on a busy high street or go fora walk in the forest (Dowling 2009). Europe’s Sunday trading laws appeared to be complicatedand inconsistent.Dana (1992) was critical of the restricted Sunday trading laws in Canada costingCanadian retailers a great deal as many Canadians were travelling to the USA to shop onSundays. So, if the stores in Canada were not trading on Sunday, consumers would takeadvantage of the convenience of being able to shop on a Sunday in the USA. Canadian6
businesses continue to lose out on making extra profit as USA businesses earn greater profitsand gain competitive advantage. However, Canada has now relaxed its Sunday trading law.Since 1994 when the Sunday Trading Act was introduced, most shops have openedevery Sunday. With longer trading hours, Sunday shopping appears to have become aconvenient alternative for those consumers who have embraced the concept. Essentially, thestereotypical image of society and families has changed. The British Retail Consortium statedthat in terms of hourly sales, Sunday is the biggest day of the week as customers try to shopwithin the limited trading time. In terms of total weekly sales and football, Sunday is secondonly to Saturday (Judah and Sorrel-Dejerine 2013). Businesses and workers have beenprotesting for and against the complicated Sunday trading laws in France too. It is not justshopping that has changed attitude towards Sunday. It is also the televised sports, and changesin the family structures which have greatly influenced attitudes and has dis-integrated thedistinction between Saturday and Sunday. The overall outlook and psychological shift isdifficult to comprehend. In today’s society, the emphasis is more about possessing materialgoods than about values, people and relationships (Judah and Sorrel-Dejerine 2013)Furthermore, Genakos and Danchev (2015) found positive economic impact ofderegulating Sunday trading hours on employment. They also found that it providesopportunities for the new firms to enter the market and keep product pricing competitive. Thus,it b
1 Sunday is the new Saturday: Sunday Trading Reforms And Its Effects on Family-run SMEs, Employees and Consumers Author: Dr. Hina Khan Dr Khan is a Lecturer in Marketing for International Operation for the Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, UK. She also works as an Independent Marketing Consultant. She is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Small Business and ...