supermarkets, malls, shops open on Sunday

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Encolpius, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Is Germany the only country in the world where all shops are closed on Sunday? I never lived in Germany, so have no personal experience, but heard people say that. How about your country can you go shopping on Sunday?

    In Central Europe (Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary) some supermarkets are open as many as 24 hours on Sunday. It seems the only holiday is the 1st January when all shops are closed here.
  2. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Denmark used to be the worst of them all - with stores closing at 17:30 Mondays to Friday and at 14:00 on Saturdays.

    But things have changed a lot.

    I don't even know if all German supermarkets could stay open 24/7 but a lot of them stay open till 23:00, all through the week.
  3. la_machy

    la_machy Senior Member

    Hermosillo, Sonora, México.
    Español de Sonora
    In México all stores (well, most of them) are open on sunday. Of course they close earlier than monday to saturday. But one can easily go shopping on sunday.

  4. Mishe Senior Member

    Larger supermarkers/hypermarkets here in Ljubljana are open every weekday until 21h (9 pm) and on Saturdays too. On Sundays they are open until 15h (3 pm). Smaller supermarkets that are part of larger chains are closed on Sundays, however some smaller private businesses are open also on Sundays.

    This has been a subject of controversy here a few years ago, especially when conservative circles actually reached a referendum on this subject.
  5. mattdelm Senior Member


    In France Monday to Friday everywhere is open but they have a 2 hour lunch break from 12 till 2.

    Sunday everywhere is closed apart from the boulangeries. Sometimes there are also things closed on Monday like banks.

    Kind regards,
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Since I live in the capital it can be a little bit different and maybe in all countries. :confused:
  7. Epilio

    Epilio Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    In Spain malls and supermarkets close on Sunday, except on special days (like in Christmas time). Nonetheless there are shops that normally open even on Sundays, usually local markets that are opened till midday.
  8. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Israel is kind of interesting that way.

    In the Jewish areas, all shops, schools, government offices and so on are closed on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and Sunday is the first day of the work week. (Some enterprises close on Fridays, too, to give employees a two-day weekend, but shops are open.)

    In the Arab areas, schools are closed on Friday and Sunday but open on Saturday. I've seen shops open on Fridays and closed on Sundays and the other way around. I assume it depends on if the owners are Muslim or Christian, but I don't know for sure because I never asked.

    I have never been to the new shopping malls in the PA, so I don't know if they are closed down on Fridays or not.
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    In the UK the only restrictions on shop opening-hours are on Sundays: shops which are over a certain size are restricted to a maximum of 6 trading hours.
    Otherwise it's a free-for-all.

    There used to be a rather charming old law which forbade the selling of alcohol anywhere before 3pm on Good Friday. I'm not sure if it still exists.
  10. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    They aren´t allowed to open on Sundays and public holidays, except the shop is run by a family. If they employ someone the shop has to be closed.

    Another exception is gas stations and their small shops. They are open 24/7.
  11. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    What Sundays are concerned there is at least one more exception which isn't even new - it existed for decades: In certain zones are declared "touristic zones" - like Hamburg-St. Pauli - stores may stay open all days of the week. For some stupid reason main stream supermarkets were reluctant to take advantage of that law for a long time but now they do.
  12. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    This was not so before 1991: much has changed in the nations which once lay beyond the Iron Curtain.

    Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia have adopted very free opening hours (and I'm sure other Central/Eastern European countries too).

    In Austria opening hours are still restricted (even more so than in Germany): on sundays most shops are closed.
    There are some exceptions for shops on airports or in railway stations and shops run only by the owners (who may open their shops if they run them by themselves - if no employees need to work on sundays), but for the most part you can't go shopping on sundays.

    This however is discussed controversally for some years already (decades, in fact); the reason for this restriction (especially for sundays) once was religious (one shouldn't work on the day God rested :)) but this isn't an argument anymore; nowadays the debate here in Austria is almost exclusively about shop assistants too deserving to have a day off on sunday.

    Anyway, in Austria shopping hours are regulated through agreement between the so-called "Sozialpartner" ("social partners" - that would be the unions on behalf of the employees, and the federal economic chamber on behalf of the employers).
    Shopping hours have been extended constantly over the last two decades, but only step by step - with sunday still being closed for the most part, as explained above.
    In Austria shopping hours once were even shorter - saturdays till 12:00 and weekdays 17:00 or 17:30, I don't remember anymore (that was the case in the 1980ies or so).
    Nowadays shops may be open between monday and friday from 05:00 till 21:00 and on sunday till 18:00 - but with the restriction that overall a shop must not keep open for more tha 72 hours a week.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  13. Grop

    Grop Senior Member

    Hello, actually supermarkets (as opposed to small shops) in France generally make no lunch break. Also, you may find a few of them who happen to be open on Sunday morning.

    (I don't know how to look for them, you have to notice it when you randomly see one).
  14. Aerio Member

    English, Polish
    I live in the USA, in the Midwest.

    Most of the big-box stores here are open twenty-four hours every day, except big holidays like Christmas or New Year's Eve.
    Some supermarkets are like this too.

    In my experience, grocery stores / supermarkets tend to have more limited hours, closing earlier on Sunday.
    Most don't do this though, lately.

    The mall tends to close earlier on Sunday.
    During the holidays, they open earlier and close later.

    Local shops open later and close earlier on Saturdays, especially Sundays.

    Nonetheless, despite all those limited hours, almost no shop / store / mall / supermarket I've known closes completely on a Sunday, unless for a specific reason.
  15. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I agree with Aerio about my experience in the U.S., except for the big box stores (if we're talking about Best Buy and other similar stores). Even our Wal-Mart isn't open 24 hours a day, but I live in the suburbs. We have one grocery store that is open 24 hours a day and two that close around 9:30 p.m. each night. Even the Christian bookstore in the next town over is open on Sunday afternoons.

    I know you didn't ask about this, but just in case you wanted to know.... ;) Banks are not open on Sunday. Neither are government offices (most are also closed on Saturday). Most car repair shops aren't, either. Doctor's offices are closed then, too. Even our local urgent care centers aren't open on Sundays.

    We have other traditions, though. For example, most beauty and barber shops are closed on Mondays. Some restaurants will close on Mondays. Live theater is often "dark" (closed) on Monday. Monday is often the slowest day so it works out better for the shop owners to be closed then.

    We were in Paris a few years ago. Our friends' luggage had been lost so they needed to buy clothes. The only place we could find open was the underground mall at the Louvre (but we don't know Paris very well.) It wasn't a surprise since we had read about this but it was still... disorienting to have all the shops closed on Sunday.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  16. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Similar here in North Eastern USA. Most shops open on Sundays, but boutiques and beauty salons often close on Mondays.

    It reminds me of the old "early closing day" in England. Shops all used to close around 2 or 3 pm on a Thursday, I think it was. Why did they do that, Ewie? I can't remember. Was it something to do with "pay day"?
  17. ernest_

    ernest_ Senior Member

    Catalan, Spain
    In Spain it's illegal to open on Sundays. Only very specific shops are allowed to be open, namely newspapers & bakery shops. There are, however, many Pakistani-owned supermarkets ootside the law that are open 7 days a week, although they charge you an extra fee on a Sundays.
  18. sdr083

    sdr083 Senior Member

    Norwegian (NN)
    By law Norwegian shops have to close on Sundays and holidays. The exceptions are grocery shops smaller than 100 m2 (we call these "Brustadbu") and petrol stations. In the countryside most shops will close early on Saturdays (around 14:00 in the village I'm from), but supermarkets are open later. In the cities you can always find something open.
    The Norwegian "opening hours law" was changed in 2003, before that there were more restrictions.

    In Norway shops cannot sell alcohol on Sundays, religious holidays, the first of May, Constitution day or election days, and the day before any of these days the sale of alcohol must stop at 15:00...
  19. mirx Banned

    This illness is clearly more widely spread than I thought, I had a really hard time understanding why Ireland, in the paws of capitalism, still had limited trading hours compared to Mexico, a much less capitalized country, and where you can shop basically anytime day or night. For the responses here I can guess that Ireland is actually quite flexible in these regards.

    So back to Mexico, here most supermarkets open 365 days a year. Big chains, and depending on demand and location, may choose to open 24 hours. Gas station shops and pharmacies are also, for the most part, open 24 hours. Family run businesses usually open on Sundays although some tend to have very irregular opening times.

    Most commercial trading is done between 10 am and 9 pm, malls usually follow these hours but the particular stores within may not.
  20. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Ilegal for malls only? I mean supermarketsm drugstores abnd that stuff are open right???
  21. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    No, he means it: all shops are closed except for those very few exceptions: that is actually - it seems - the norm on "continental" Europe [not including UK and Ireland] west of the once-Iron-Curtain.

    It was like that east of the Iron Curtain line too, pre-1991, as we seem to have established in this thread already: after it fell they adopted the American way of opening on sundays very quickly there while most of the rest of "continental" Europe obviously still sticks to very strict restrictions for opening on sunday.
  22. ernest_

    ernest_ Senior Member

    Catalan, Spain
    It's interesting, I'd always thought it was a trade-union thing, so as to prevent workers from being forced to work inhumane hours. Now that you mention this, I'm thinking that maybe it was Franco who introduced these restrictions on the grounds of religion.
  23. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    In my opinion all the "Catholic" nations once were the strictest, concerning opening hours; and this would include Spain. But this is just my impression, I cannot offer hard facts to support this. :)

    And anyway, as said above, religious arguments aren't very relevant anymore (but nevertheless the Austrian Church still complains on a regular basis whenever somebody is lobbying for supermarkets and malls being allowed to open on sundays: and this topic is brought up in Austria regularily).

    Today it is definitely the unions which are the main force against open sundays, here in Austria, and probably in most other "Continental" European nations.
  24. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    As far as I know the work-free Sunday was in decline during the industrialisation. Then it was reintroduced at the end of the 19th century as part of workers´right.
  25. Jacobtm Senior Member

    English - New York
    From what I've seen in México, small businesses are frequently closed on Sunday afternoons, probably because the proprieters are with their family and don't even have other employees. There are plenty of businesses here that are literally run/operated by the same owner/operator every day, so it makes sense that they'd at least want to take off early on Sundays.
  26. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Yeah, it makes a lot of sense when we talk about small bussines, but teh big ones!!! It's kind of akward!!! I mean here in the city most people work form Monday to Friday so sunday you went out woth your friends, you go to the nite club etc... and sundays you go to the church, watch football on tv and go to the supermarket, I usually go to the market, supermarket and related on sundays, and I have to say This day it's when the supermarket it's crowder!!! The same about malls, in fact those days they close later because they know there are more people buying and passing by their time, window shopping or going to the cinema or some restaurant.
  27. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    This is indeed the case for Germany, says Wiki (see the German Wiki page, unfortunately only French and Dutch versions of the page available which respectively describe situations in France and the Netherlands).

    Situations however were slightly different in different nations, see the Dutch site where it seems religious orientation too played a role (as also was the case in Austria, and still is even though only to a very small degree).
  28. Miguel Antonio Senior Member

    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    Not exactly. I live close to the border with Portugal and I have a choice of supermarkets there that only close a handful of days in the year (Christmas, New Year's day, Easter Sunday, and some other national Portuguese holiday). They are open until 10 pm, which is 11 pm in Spain. And I am aware that this happens elsewhere in the country, further away from the border, and in some shopping malls too.
  29. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    If I remember correctly, 'early closing' day was on Wednesday, at least in the SE where I hail from. I always understood that this was to compensate for the employees working on Saturday mornings as in those long distant days the shops, or many of them, closed at midday on Saturday. Nowadays, it seems to be a free for all with shops opening whenever they want. On my last visit in 1986 I did come across some weird practices like I was unable to buy alcohol in the supermarket before midday on a Sunday or 5pm in the afternoon of other days because the pubs weren't open!! (the old licensing laws were still in effect).:)

    Here in Argentina all the shopping centres and supermarkets are open practically 24/365. This year they're going to close at Midnight on Christmas and New Year's Eve. Private shops keep to their own rules with many still following the old 'siesta' system (even in Buenos Aires), closing at 1 or 2 pm and opening again at 5pm and closing around 8 or 9.
  30. ampurdan

    ampurdan Senior Member

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    If I'm not mistaken, in some Autonomous Regions in Spain it is perfectly legal to open whenever the business wants, including Sundays. That is the case with the Madrid Community, controlled by the neo-liberal line of the conservative party.
  31. Orlin Banned

    In Bulgaria, it is usual for shops (regardless of size) to be open on Sundays, but usually the working hours are shorter. It is possible for some shops to be closed on Sundays, but it isn't so often. Shops are almost all closed on some major holidays: December 25, January 1 and Easter Sunday or have limited working hours (working hours are also short on December 24 and 31). There is no legal restriction for work on Sunday.
  32. pickypuck Senior Member

    Badajoz, Spanish Extremadura
    Extremaduran Spanish
    You are right. In the following link you can see what the law says.

    There is total freedom for:

    -A business that sells bread, sweets, prepared food, press, gasoline/fuel, flowers, plants.

    -A business located in a station, airport, etc.

    -A business located in a very touristic place.

    -A business located in an international border.

    -A business lower than 300 m2 or a convenience store (both under certain circumstances).

    A business that doesn't fall into these characteristics is subjected to restrictions. But these restrictions can be suppressed by the Autonomous Community to a great extent. Thus, for most Autonomous Communities the number of Sundays that a "regular" store could be open during 2009 was 8, as compared to 22 for the Autonomous Community of Madrid.

  33. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    Not so many years ago there was a very powerful organization in the UK called 'The Lord's Day Observance Society' who were, to say the least somewhat Puritan and were responsible for most of the laws restricting commerce and drinking on Sundays in force at that time. It was even illegal to bet on your golf game on a Sunday!!
  34. Lugubert Senior Member

    My favourite supermarkets in Sweden's second largest city are open 8-22 and 7-32, respectively, all days. Perhaps a few hours less at Easter and Christmas. Smaller shops will voluntarily close early or totally on Saturdays, and be closed on Sundays.

    No Sunday or other holiday restrictions on entertainment. There will even be Good Friday dances. When I was young, cinema offerings on Good Friday was severely restricted, and that was all the entertainment allowed.
  35. Orlin Banned

    Sorry but I don't understand what you mean by 7-32.
  36. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    When I lived in England in the 1970s the supermarkets were always closed on Sundays and public holidays and stayed open late (until 21.00) only a couple of days a week. Strangely, though, people didn't starve to death; they knew when the shops were closed and organized themselves accordingly, so shopping day was Saturday. A similar situation existed in Italy where I now live and still supermarkets are open on some Sundays but not all. Of course there was an argument for a certain degree of flexibility but in general it was considered that shop employees, like the customers, were human beings entitled to a free day with their families. It wasn't really a religious question; how they spent their free day was a personal choice.
    Extending opening hours doesn't increase overall sales, it simply means fiercer competition which puts small shops out of business. And as it doesn't increase sales it means reducing the hourly pay for the workers. As a result there are now shop employees who "want" to work on Sundays because being underpaid they need the overtime.
    Also in other jobs the hours have become longer and for this reason people want to find the shops open on Sundays, but it would be better if all workers together resisted this increasing exploitation!

    Having said the above, I must comment that closing at 2 p.m. on Saturdays seems like going too far the other way!

    PS Orlin, I think Lugubert means 7-22, not 7-32.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  37. london calling Senior Member

    Einstein, I agree totally!:)

    I just wanted to add something to what you say about opening times in the 70s. I was still at school and had what was known as a "Saturday job" (for our non British friends: most of us had one then. For Brits who still live in the country: does anybody know if British kids still do this?) in one of the big supermarket chains in London. As a matter of fact, I didn't only work on Saturdays, but on Thursday or Friday evenings until 9 p.m. as well (late night closing was only twice a week!).
  38. Lugubert Senior Member

    Correct. Blame an assortment of medical issues as well as strerss frpm stress from work overload.
  39. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    The laws that restricted business hours for shops and businesses (known as "blue laws") were mostly eliminated in the 1970s in the U.S. Since the U.S. is a federation of 50 states, all of those laws were based on each state's legislative decisions (or even local laws), and not consistent across the U.S.

    One remnant of those old blue laws is the restriction on the sales of alcohol--either only after a certain hour of the day (in Washington, DC you can't buy alcohol before 9:00 AM any day of the week) or not at all on Sundays in some jurisdictions. I am not sure why this was not eliminated with the other blue laws, but those restrictions are still quite common across different parts of our country.

    There is more information here on this topic generally.
  40. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I looked at your link on "blue laws" (and have learnt a new expression:)), and it leaves me wondering if everyone sees this as a purely religious question. Does no one agree with me (post 36) and london calling (post 37) that there were other (valid) reasons apart from religious ones for restricting business hours?
  41. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    It would be interesting to see a case where there were no such restrictions when a religion dominated the legal structure followed by the introduction of such restrictions by a more secular government. I don't think I've seen an example of that.

    I'm sure there are many valid reasons for restricting business hours but as far as I know all restrictions had their origins in religious convictions.

    I'll review your posts to see if I missed something.
  42. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Opposition to extension of opening hours seems to come more from protestants than catholics and in any case religious objection would be to Sunday opening, not to late night opening. In the 1970s in Italy all shops had to close at 7.30 pm; this was imposed because previously the small shops had stayed open until very late, competing with each other, so it was a form of protection. In large stores, Sunday opening has been imposed against the protests of the unions, not of the Church.
  43. Lugubert Senior Member

    I'm fairly certain that the laws on Swedish Sunday closing was a Protestant only thing.

    The fist laws were introduced in 1909, when Swedes for no more than 36 years had been allowed to adhere to the Catholic faith without risking extradition.

    When the last shop opening restricting laws were scrapped, in 1972, Sweden was already sufficiently secular. Protests came from the unions.
  44. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Here in Mexico City, a new law has been imposed in Álvaro Obregón district (The City has 16 districts) where any kind of alcoholic beverages (beer, rum, tequila not even coolers) are allowed to be sold after 12:00 am until 7:00 am.

    This law has nothing to do with religion, the reason for it, it's because alcohol it's related to street fights; car accidents and violence; so forbiddne to sell alcohol prevent people on the streets trying to find it.

    Obviously you can be "preventive" and buy a lot of alcohol if you are having a party, but sometimes alcohol runs out faster than you believe or simply if there were a not planned party, maybe you stop drinking earlier.

    (By the way I live in the "border line" of the district so if I cross the street I'm in other district, and the liquor store it's on the other corner ;):D!)
  45. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    [Note that this is a cut-down quote from wildan1.]

    I just discovered this thread and read through it and was wondering if anyone would mention blue laws that were in force across many (all?) of the Bible Belt states.

    I spent nearly every summer of my childhood at my grandparents' in Kansas and I know that besides the prohibition on Sunday sales of alcohol, hardware stores were also closed – it was a day of rest, so you weren't supposed to be building and fixing things. When I went to college in Missouri in the middle and late '60s, it was still true for liquor and hardware stores.
  46. effeundici Senior Member

    Italian - Tuscany
    It's a wise law whose goal is man and not profit
  47. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    In GB the idea wasn't that you shouldn't be building and fixing things on a Sunday, but that you bought the materials on another day and didn't make other people work on Sundays!
  48. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    If alcohol is related to street fights and the goal is to reduce violent incidents, how does forbidding it in one district accomplish the goal?
  49. PaulaWulff Member

    It's not illegal to open on Sundays, it's just that small markets claimed to be treated unfairly by large stores due to non compete agreements (unfair competition). Basically it's up to each region in Spain to decide whether to declare it illegal or not, nevertheless, downtown stores in Madrid were recently accorded the right to open:

    And in Barcelona it's been discussed as well:

    And Galicia:

    It's about workers' right to rest, getting paid leaves, but at the same time having competitive stores, even the small ones.
  50. mirx Banned

    Interesting, as far as I am aware in Durango liquor stores are allowed to open from 10 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday. Sundays and holidays is from 12 pm to 6 pm. No districts here.

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