New Year's Day trading for large retailers: consultation

Large retail businesses are currently able to open on New Year’s Day. This consultation is being held to seek the views of shop workers, retail businesses and others on whether the current law should change so that large retail businesses must close on New Year’s Day.

Consultation Document Part 2

Background to the Consultation

The Christmas and New Year's Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 (the Act) stops large retail stores from opening on Christmas Day. When the Scottish Parliament was considering the Act, it was agreed that the law to close large shops would only apply on Christmas Day. The Act became law on 13 April 2007.

However, the Act contained a Section that made it possible for Scottish Government Ministers to make an Order that large shops should also close on New Year's Day, without the need for introducing new primary legislation.

Section 2 of the Act sets out the steps - referred to in the Act as pre-conditions – that must first be taken before making an Order under this part of the law. These pre-conditions are:

  • To hold a consultation on whether large shops should close on New Year's Day.
  • To prepare reports on the economic impact and the impact on family life, of large shops opening on New Year's Day.
  • To prepare a Parliamentary statement of the reasons for changing the law so that large shops should close on New Year's Day.

The responses in the consultation will help decide whether to propose a change to the existing law or not.

Who the Act currently applies to

  • All retail businesses that have 280 m or more of floor space for customers including that used for display purposes. (By way of comparison, the area of a standard tennis court is 260 m.)

In addition to those shops that do not have a floor space of 280 m or more, other businesses are exempt from this law and include:

  • Businesses that wholly or mainly sell meals, refreshments or alcohol for consuming on the premises, such as pubs, restaurants, cafes.
  • Businesses that sell meals or refreshments to order for consuming off the premises such as takeaways.
  • Registered pharmacies that are open only to dispense prescription drugs, medicines or appliances.
  • Businesses sited within a port, railway station or commercial airport.
  • Businesses in a motorway service area.
  • Business wholly or mainly selling fuel for motor vehicles (petrol stations).

Who we are consulting

Section 2(4) of the Act sets out those who must be consulted on this matter. They are:

a) Every local authority (council) in Scotland

b) Retail businesses and those organisations that represent businesses

c) Retail workers who work in large shops and their representatives; and

d) Any other people or organisations that the Minister thinks appropriate.

The Consultation on Citizens Space has been designed so that it is open to everyone to participate, but some questions have been designed so that we can gather the views of shop workers and retail businesses that are likely to be most affected by any change in the law.



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