PAUL O’BRIEN: How will the new Sunday trading laws affect sunny Worthing?

Paul O'Brien
Paul O'Brien

I think, like many of those who work in retail, we sit in trepidation each time the Budget comes around.

Will we finally get some business rate reforms? Can there be more help for the high street?

One of the most interesting points to come out of the government’s announcements was the change to Sunday trading hours.

Just how this will affect Worthing will be interesting to see.

The Sunday trading laws were very antiquated and the new laws will certainly allow us to try and take on a little bit of the behemoth that is internet shopping.

Worthing’s high street is very much a balancing game.

The big stores need the smaller independents to add something different just as much as we need them to be the big draw for shoppers.

If they close at 4pm on a Sunday then people generally go home, so it makes little sense for us to keep the doors open.

However, with the new laws I can certainly see the bigger stores on Montague Street staying open during those peak seasonal times.

The six weekends leading up to Christmas will be a given, with at least 6pm openings, but hopefully this will also happen in the summer.

Like it or loathe it we are slowly becoming much more of a tourist town.

With national newspapers name-checking us last week, and Sky News filming in the town about the resurgence of the ‘staycation’, it is total madness to be closing the doors up at 4pm on a Sunday when there’s still thousands of people enjoying the sunny weather and a shop.

Having spent a long weekend in Spain a few weeks back it always amazes me how all the shops stay open long until the night, feeding off the cafes and restaurants and creating a friendly vibe.

I would love to see Worthing adopt at least one late night shopping event during the busy summer next year, with the whole town welcoming shoppers through until sunset.

Fridays would be perfect, allowing those who want to come and spend a long weekend with us the chance to enjoy sunny Worthing to its fullest on their arrival.

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