Despite being a tradition to open since the mid 90s, many of today’s retailers opt to remain closed on Boxing Day – and most Mirror readers applaud them for doing so. according to our poll
While the annual trudge to the Boxing Day sales is a tradition for many of us, an increasing number of people – and stores – are saying enough is enough.
Pull those shutters down on December 26 and let’s give the workers some much-needed time off, say most Mirror readers, whowere responding to our poll Should all shops be closed on Boxing Day? With 923 saying yes while just 53 said they should remain open.
The story sparked a bit of a debate in the comments, with Piratecove2 posting: “Christmas has now become a corporate business moneymaker”, while JmanK said: “Yes they should [close], let the workers have a little time off! Why begrudge time off for people? Let them spend time with their families. They work all the way up to Christmas and do late openings, one day is not enough.” But Camellia disagreed, saying “Why (should they have time off)? Hospitals don’t close, police don’t close, fire stations don’t close so why should shops?” You can still have your say in the poll here:
Of course, the tradition of shops opening on Boxing Day hasn’t always been the case. It all started in the mid 1990s when the John Major government made far-reaching changes to the Sunday trading laws. This shake-up of when it is morally ‘right’ to shop opened up the possibility of trading on festival days. And shops didn’t wait to be invited.
Since then, plenty of retailers are now open on Boxing Day. But some – such as Aldi – make a point of pulling down the shutters on December 26 so staff can spend more time with their families. The wholesome trend seems to be catching, with outlets such as Home Bargains and Poundland each announcing they too will close for Boxing Day this year. Big-name stores such as Iceland and John Lewis also opted to close in 2022.
Whether to stay open for Boxing Day or not is a surprisingly hot topic among shoppers, with many unfamiliar with what the actual trading laws state. According to gov.uk, small shops in Great Britain can open any day or hour, but large shops (those over 280 square metres) in England and Wales can:
- open on Sundays but only for six consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm
- must close on Easter Sunday
- must close on Christmas Day
There are no trading hours restrictions in Scotland. Nothing in the rules is mentioned about shops closing the day after Christmas. This lack of legislation led to a petition – demanding all retail to shut on Boxing Day – attracting 148,327 signatures; enough to get it raised in Parliament back in 2016. The government responded with: “We do not believe it is for central Government to tell businesses how to run their shops or how best to serve their customers. Therefore we are not proposing to ban shops from opening on Boxing Day”.