Is Wyevale Challenging Easter Shopping Laws?
By jmitchell27 | Friday, April 02, 2010, 17:13
The group that owns the local branch of Wyevale will challenge the law this Sunday by opening their doors to their Gardeners Club members.
According to the 1994 Sunday Trading Act it is illegal for large shops to open for the serving of retail customers (apparently a large shop is one with over 3000 square feet of selling space), but it is ok to open cafes and the like. So this weekend Thornbury's Wyevale Garden Centre will not be able to sell gardening products, but it will remain open to it's club members and provide them with advice while letting them examine goods.
Nicolas Marshall, chief executive of the Garden Centre Group said:
"We won't be able to sell anything - you can sell porn but not plants on Easter Sunday but you are allowed to run a restaurant and man the garden centre so that people can get advice and loot at our ranges."
Personally I do not see how this is a challenge to the law, but retail lawyer Tony Askham said:
"If staff are answering gardening questions they are likely to be 'serving' customers in the eyes of the law."
I realise that a number of Church groups oppose Wyevale's decision, and that a number of campaigns like 'Keep Sunday Special' will inform police if they think the law is being broken, but I still find it hard to see any issue with a shop choosing to be open on Easter Sunday. No one is attacking the Christian observance of Easter, but Christian groups are going too far by preventing trading because of their own beliefs.