The plans announced recently in Chancellor George Osborne recent Summer Budget to relax Sunday trading laws could be a positive for many retailers and their landlords – particularly for those located in major retail centres if not for those in more local retail facilities. However, in addition to theoretical upside of increased sales, there are some other areas that need to be considered.
Under the proposals announced, the government will consult on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and local authorities. At present, only shops below 3,000 sq ft can open for more than six hours on the Sabbath.
There is a general consensus that a modest increase in total high street spend will be witnessed as consumers are given greater choice as to where and when they spend their money. Understandably it is thought this will be most evident in Central London and major regional centres, where there may be pent-up demand from consumers. There is also a likely benefit for bricks and mortar retailers in their continuing struggle against internet-based shopping and it will offer greater flexibility for click and collect retail.
In certain pitches however, like shopping centres, the additional costs of security, utilities etc that will have to be incurred will inevitably be passed on to the occupiers via the service charge, on top of the direct costs of staffing etc.
Also, theoretically, if spending and profits do rise as a consequence of increased trading hours, there could be upward pressure on rents in some areas.
The move could therefore be of benefit to some tenants and landlords however undoubtedly a number of smaller retailers in particular will see costs outweighing gains.
Ian Le Grice – email@example.com