Sunday trading

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 governs the sale of goods from retail premises. This Act restricts certain large shops from opening for sale to a maximum of 6 hours between 10am and 6pm. A large shop is a retail shop with an internal sales area of at least 280 square metres (approximately 3,000 square feet). This does not include the area taken up by storerooms, staff facilities and external displays. Reducing the sales area of a large shop on a Sunday does not mean it becomes a small.

Sunday trading rules for large shops in England and Wales

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.

If your Sunday trading hours are restricted, you must clearly display what they are inside and outside your shop.

Loading and deliveries on Sundays

If you have a large shop (over 280 square metres), you will need to check whether you require permission from your local authority to load and unload goods before 9am on Sunday.

Employment rules for restricted opening

Read Sunday working on GOV.UK to find out your employment rights. There is no automatic right for workers to have public holidays off, including Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, unless it is in their contract. Check your employee's contract to see if you get extra pay for working public holidays.

Exemptions from Sunday trading restrictions

Shops exempt from the Sunday trading restrictions for large shops include:

  • airport and railway station outlets
  • service station outlets
  • registered pharmacies selling only medicinal products and medical and surgical appliances
  • farms selling mainly their own produce
  • outlets wholly or mainly selling motor or bicycle supplies
  • suppliers of goods to aircraft or sea-going vessels on arrival at, or departure from, a port, harbour or airport
  • exhibition stands selling goods

We enforce Sunday trading law; we will investigate complaints about businesses that breach that law. If you suspect anyone of breaking the Sunday trading law, contact the Food, Health and Safety Team on the detail below.

Read trading hours for retailers: the law on GOV.UK for rules on trading for small shops.

Last updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2021.