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Customs and regulations for shopping hours (times that shops are open) vary from country to country.
Shopping days and impact of holidays
Some countries, particularly those with predominantly Christian populations or histories do not allow Sunday shopping. In Islamic countries some shops are closed on Fridays for noontime prayers. In Israel many shops are sometimes closed on Friday evening and Saturday during the daytime for Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath).
Each state in Australia sets its own standard trading hours, but in most of the country the shops are open seven days a week for at least part of the day.
For some shops and other businesses in culturally Christian countries, Christmas Day is the only day in the year that they are closed.
In the United States and Canada, nearly all retail stores are open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Easter Sunday. Some suburban and smaller communities often close on Sundays. For example, Bergen County, New Jersey, next to New York City, completely bans Sunday shopping. However, nearly all stores in the United States have restricted hours on Sundays (most often 11 am or noon to 5 - 7 pm), and stores close early on important holidays, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Independence Day. Banks, Post offices and other government offices either are closed on weekends, or close early on Saturdays. Many other non-retail establishments remain closed on weekends.
In Islamic countries shops may have special opening hours during Ramadan.
In Israel, many shops may be closed on religious holidays other than Shabbat, especially on Yom Kippur when nearly all businesses are closed.
Store trading hours in Australia are regulated by individual states and territories.
The Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, totally or almost totally deregulate shopping hours. All retail businesses in the two territories, regardless of size or product offer are able to stipulate their trading hours to suit their individual customer demand. Shops in the three states are required to remain closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday, and (in Tasmania and NSW only) on Easter Sunday. Shops in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, can remain open on any public holiday. The two main supermarket operators Woolworths and Coles generally trade between 6 am and midnight every day, although some inner-city stores in Sydney and Melbourne operate 24 h. Melbourne generally has the most relaxed rules. Almost all shopping centres in Melbourne now trade late on Thursdays and Fridays as well as being open longer hours on Sundays. Melbourne is also famous for beginning the trend of 36 h in the leadup to Christmas. Some of the larger shopping centres will open from 8 am until 6 pm on Christmas Eve. Trading hours in the Australian Capital Territory have been deregulated since the repeal of the Trading Hours Act 1996 [ACT] on 29 May 1997.
Shopping Hours in South Australia are still regulated but the state government has passed numerous changes to relax the laws. Despite these changes retailers still face complicated and confusing trading laws, which stipulate trading hours based on size and product offer. Supermarkets that trade with fewer than 7 workers and with a trading floor less than 500 m2 are exempt from the laws. Larger supermarkets are required by law to close at 9 pm on weekdays, 5 pm on Saturdays and are permitted to trade only between 11 am and 5 pm on Sundays.
In all areas of Queensland, trading hours with major supermarkets are 8 am-9 pm Mon-Fri, 8am-5:30 on Saturdays and Sundays trade on 9 am-6 pm. Most major shopping centres close at 5 pm every day, with the exception of one night a week with what is so named 'late night shopping.' If a supermarket is in a major shopping center, it must still cease trading at 9 pm, with special access for just the supermarket.
In rural areas of Western Australia below the 27th parallel, local governments nominate shop closing hours to the State government, which, if accepted, are implemented by ministerial order. Shopping hours in the state's capital, Perth, are regulated by laws similar to South Australia's. Trading hours are stipulated in law, and are based on size and product offer. As in South Australia, smaller, independently-operated supermarket retailers are exempted. Chain supermarkets are required to close at 9 pm on weekdays, 5 pm on Saturdays, and are permitted to trade only between 11 am and 5 pm on Sundays.
With the exception of the country being predominantly Catholic rather than Protestant, the German situation very much applies for Austria, too. Until the 1990s, all shops closed on Saturday noon (mostly at 12) and not reopened until Monday morning. Entrepreneurs such as Richard Lugner lobbied for an expansion of shopping hours, and laws are gradually being changed, and more and more exceptions granted. Meanwhile, as in Germany, outside regular shopping hours gas stations and train stations of big cities have taken on the role of Nahversorger (supplying the local population with groceries).
Store hours in Canada are regulated by each province or territory and, in some provinces, individual municipalities as well.
As a general rule, there is little regulation of shopping hours across the country. In the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, as well as all three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut), there are no restrictions at all and stores can open 24/7 every day. As well, Nova Scotia permits any store to open every day of the year except Remembrance Day (November 11).
The remaining provinces (Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) require stores to close on most major holidays. Furthermore, three provinces have further restrictions on Sunday openings. In Manitoba, stores may open on Sundays only with municipal approval and only between 12pm - 6 pm. New Brunswick allows Sunday opening all year only with both municipal and provincial approval; otherwise it is permitted only from August until the New Year. Some communities in New Brunswick (such as Fredericton, Woodstock, Saint John, Bathurst, Campbellton, Grand Bay–Westfield, Miramichi, Rothesay, Sussex) restrict Sunday hours of operation to 12pm - 5pm.
The province of Quebec is the only province in Canada that regulates shopping hours outside of Sundays and Holidays. As a general rule, stores are permitted to open only between 8am and 9pm weekdays and 8am - 5pm weekends, excluding holidays. However there are several exceptions, notably with several supermarkets in Montreal, which are open later hours or 24 h.
In practice, few stores in Canada (outside of a small number of grocery stores) remain open 24 h. Most shopping centres open from 10am-9pm Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 6pm (or in some cases 9pm) on Saturday and 12pm - 5pm or 6pm on Sunday. Many larger stores, such as Wal-Mart Canada and most major grocery stores remain open 8am - 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am - 6pm (in some provinces 8 am-10 pm) on Sunday, except in provinces where further restrictions apply. The Sobeys chain stays open from 7am - 11pm on weekdays and Saturdays, though some locations are open 24 hours. Many Loblaws brand stores such as Zehrs Markets and Real Canadian Superstore are open from 7am-11pm, 7 days of the week.
Trading hours in China, including Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions, are commercial decisions and not regulated. Most shops open on public holidays. Some convenience stores open 24 h and every day in the year, but few large supermarkets are open 24 h.
During Chinese New Year, many shops in China do close for a few days, starting from the first day of Chinese New Year or the evening of the Chinese New Year's Eve, to usually the third day of Chinese New Year. Some shops in Hong Kong and Macau do operate in Chinese New Year holidays, especially chain stores.
Shopping hours in Croatia are currently unregulated after the Constitutional Court struck down a ban on Sunday shopping, which had been in effect from mid-2008 until mid-2009.
Most large out-of-town supermarkets are open between 07:30/08:00-21:00/22:00, Monday to Sunday. Shopping malls usually open at 09:00 and also close at 22:00, every day. Smaller supermarkets close earlier on Sundays, typically at 13:00. Other shops in urban areas are generally closed on Sundays.
Bakeries and newspaper kiosks often open very early in the morning, at 05:30 or 06:00, and open every day but not 24 h. Gas stations and convenience stores along major roads as well as some pharmacies (at least one in each major city, five in Zagreb) operate 24 h.
Outside of public holidays, the current law, that went into effect in December 2009 permits all retailing venues regardless of size to stay open on weekdays between 07:00–21:00, on Saturdays between 07:00–18:00 and on Sundays between 12:00–18:00. During the Christmas shopping season from the third Sunday of November to 23 December, the Sunday closing hours are extended until 21:00.
Opening hours for stores with a commercial floor area of less than 400 m2 are unregulated, except on public holidays.
On Finnish public holidays, all stores with a commercial floor area of more than 100 m2 are closed. On April 30 (Vappu) and New Year's Eve, the same retailers are permitted to stay open until 18:00, and on the Christmas Eve and the Midsummer eve (juhannusaatto) until 12:00.
There is no closing hour legislation for shops smaller than 100 m2 ("kiosks").
The local Regional State Administrative Agency (aluehallintovirasto) may exempt any retailer in its area from the shopping hour regulations. Therefore, in Helsinki for example, retail shops located in the central Asematunneli and Kamppi shopping centres near city's main traffic hubs are specially permitted to stay open even on public holidays.
Shopping days and opening hours in Germany were previously regulated by a federal law, the "Shop Closing Law" (Ladenschlussgesetz), first enacted in 1956 and last revised on March 13, 2003. The federal government, however, handed over the authority to regulate shopping hours to the sixteen states on 7 July 2006. Since then, states have been allowed to pass their own laws regulating opening hours. The federal Ladenschlussgesetz continues to be valid within states that have not passed their own laws.
Under the old Ladenschlussgesetz, which currently applies only in the states of Bavaria and the Saarland, the general rule was that from Monday to Saturday, shops may not open prior to 6 a.m. and may not stay open later than 8 p.m. Shops were also obliged to close all day on Sundays and public holidays (both federal and state), and special rules applied concerning Christmas Eve (December 24) should that day fall on a weekday. But there were several exceptions. For example, petrol stations (Tankstellen) and shops located in railway stations and airports may stay open past the normal hours; most petrol stations in larger cities and all situated on Autobahns are open 24 h.
Shops in so-called "tourist zones" may also open outside the normal hours, although restricted to selling souvenirs, handcrafted articles and similar tourist items. In connection with fairs and public market days, communities are allowed four days per year (normally Sundays) when shops may be open outside the normal restrictions; however, such shop openings may not take place during primary church services and must close by 6 pm. Bakeries may open for business at 5:30 am and may also open for a limited time on Sundays. Restaurants, bars, theatres, and cultural establishments are generally unaffected by the shop opening time restrictions. As most public holidays in Germany are religiously based, and since the religious holidays (Protestant and Catholic) are not uniform across Germany, shops may be closed due to a public holiday in one state, and open in a neighbouring state. Bavaria even differentiates between cities with Protestant or Catholic majorities.
The law was the subject of controversy in recent years, as larger stores (and many of their customers) would prefer to have fewer restrictions on their hours of operation, while trade unions, small shop owners and the church are opposed to a further loosening of the rules. On June 9, 2004, the German Supreme Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rejected a claim by the German department store chain Kaufhof AG that the shop-closing law was unconstitutional. Among other things, the court cited Article 140 of the German constitution (Grundgesetz) (which in turn invokes Article 139 of the 1919 Weimar Constitution) protecting Sundays and public holidays as days of rest and recuperation. However, the court in effect invited the Federal parliament (Bundestag) to reconsider whether the states (Länder) and not the federal government should regulate hours.
No state has, so far, passed regulation that allows for general store opening on Sundays.
Monday to Saturday, there is no restriction; regulation for Sunday varies in different states:
Monday-Friday: no time restriction; regulation for Saturday, Sunday varies in different states:
Monday-Saturday: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., regulation for Sunday varies in different states:
States with no liberalisation of opening hours that exceeds the federal law:
Shops in Ireland may, with few exceptions (such as those involved in the sale of alcohol), open whenever they want, including Sundays and public holidays.
Here are typical hours:
Monday - Wednesday, Friday, Saturday:
- 8:00/9:00/10:00 - 17:00/18:00/19:00
- 8:00/9:00/10:00 - 20:00/21:00/22:00
- 9:00/10:00/11:00 - 17:00/18:00/19:00
Many supermarkets are open 24 h or have longer opening hours (like 8:00 - 22:00) everyday.
Large shopping centres and out-of-town (suburban) centres are typically open longer hours everyday (e.g. 09:00 - 21:00/22:00 weekdays, 09:00 - 19:00 Saturdays, 10:00 - 19:00 Sundays).
In the two weeks running up to Christmas, it is common for many shops to have extended opening hours; some may operate 24 h until midnight on Christmas Eve.
Most shops (other than petrol stations or convenience stores) in smaller towns and villages don't open at all on Sundays. Almost all shops (again, petrol stations, convenience stores, etc. excepted) are closed on Christmas Day, though most are open on all other holidays.
Convenience stores, petrol stations and some chemists (drugstores) are normally open from early morning (05:00/06:00/07:00) to the late night (22:00/23:00/00:00), or often 24 h, and New Year's Day is also Sunday hours.
In rural areas or in traditional trades, Wednesdays may be a half-day for businesses, closing at 12:30, but this practice has long passed in urban areas.
Alcohol is allowed to be sold only between 10:30 and 22:00 from Monday to Saturday and 12:30 to 22:00 on Sundays, but this does not affect opening hours (supermarkets will often block access to alcoholic products outside of these times). Alcohol cannot be sold at all on Good Friday.
Regular opening hours: Monday 11:00 - 18:00; Tuesday-Friday: 09:30 - 18:00; Saturday: 09:30 - 17:00; Sunday (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Almere, Leiden and smaller tourist towns): 12 noon - 18:00. In many other towns shops are open every first Sunday of the month (koopzondag).
Shops are allowed to stay open until 22:00 from Monday to Saturday, however most close at 18:00h on weekdays, and 17:00 on Saturdays. Many supermarkets (including outlets from the market leader Albert Heijn, several DIY-stores and IKEA) stay open until 20:00, 21:00 or 22:00. Most towns have their weekly shopping evening (koopavond), when shops stay open until 21:00, on Thursday or Friday. In touristic towns (like Amsterdam's city centre) supermarkets are allowed to be open on Sundays between 07:00 and 22:00. Many towns have one or more supermarkets (avondwinkels) that are open until later in the evening, occasionally all night. Convenience stores also have longer shopping hours; they are at many larger railway stations ("Albert Heijn to go") and some busy streets.
A regular size supermarket that is open until midnight seven days a week is the Food Village at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam (in the area of the airport before ticket checks, not only for air travellers).
Shops that close on Sundays are usually also closed on public holidays, and other shops tend to have opening hours then like on Sundays. However, on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve almost all shops are closed.
Shopping hours in Serbia are unregulated. Large supermarkets are usually open from 07:00/07:30/08:00 to 22:00 from Monday to Sunday. Shopping malls open at 09:00 or 10:00 and also stay open until 22:00. Smaller supermarkets close earlier on Sundays, at 15:00 or 16:00.
Unlike neighbouring Croatia, many fast food outlets, bakeries, kiosks and convenience stores in urban areas operate 24 h. Even some hypermarkets, like Tempo and Metro, are open 24 h.
Shopping hours for shopping malls are usually from 10:00 to 22:00 from Monday to Sunday. Automotive shops like tire outlets are usually from 09.30 to 19:00. Some supermarkets are open 24 h. For more information, patrons can find current available services/shops from an online web service in Singapore, which is an Opening Hours Directory called WhereOpen.com.
In Sweden there is no law regarding shopping hours except for the nationally-owned Systembolaget alcohol shops, which close at 18:00 and are closed all day on Sundays. Shopping centres and food shops are generally open every day, often fairly late. Usually, they are closed on New Year's Day, Midsummer's Day and Christmas Day, but some are open even those days.
Shopping hours are governed by cantonal law and vary accordingly, the only federally mandated store holiday being August 1 (the national holiday), as per article 110 III of the Swiss Constitution. Most often, stores will be open from 8 or 9 am to 7 or 8 pm, 10 pm one day a week. On Saturday and the day before public holidays, most stores close at around 4 or 5 pm. Stores are also generally closed on Sundays; see Sunday shopping in Switzerland.
In Great Britain, many retail stores are open every day. Some large supermarkets are open for 24 h, (except on Sundays in England and Wales). Most stores do not open on Easter Sunday, New Year's Day or Christmas Day and have reduced hours on other public and bank holidays.
Typical shopping hours
Mondays - Saturdays: 9:00 am to 5:30pm, or 10:00 am to 8:00 pm/10:00 pm.
Sundays: - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, or 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, or 12 noon to 6:00 pm.
Sunday shopping has become more popular, and most but not all shops in towns and cities are open for business. Shops 280 m² and larger in England and Wales are allowed to trade for only 6 h on Sundays, shops in Northern Ireland may open from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. In Scotland, in theory, Sunday is considered the same as any other day, and there are no restrictions. However, in practice, some shops do not open on Sunday or open for only 4 h in smaller towns. In some Free Church dominated areas - for example Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Sunday is considered a day of rest and consequently very few if any shops open at all.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2013)|
In the U.S., the various levels of government generally do not regulate the hours of the vast majority of retailers (though there are exceptions, such as blue law), and with the main exception being shops licensed to sell spirits and other alcoholic beverages (for shopping hours, see alcohol sale hours by state) and car dealership. Shopping hours vary widely based on management considerations and customer needs. Key variables are the size of the metropolitan area, the type of store, and the size of the store.
Las Vegas, Nevada is the notable exception to all the traditions just described. Las Vegas is world-famous for its 24 hour local culture since it is an area with large gaming and tourism industries that operate 24/7. Since many of the employees in the city's primary industries work overnight shifts — and because Nevada has few laws in regards to operating hours for any type of commercial activity — many businesses cater to such workers. Thus, Las Vegas is home to many 24-hour car dealerships, dental clinics, auto mechanics, computer shops, and even some smaller clothing stores.
Typical store shopping hours:
- Monday - Saturday 9 - 10 a.m. to 8 - 10 p.m. (9:00 - 10:00 to 20:00 - 22:00)
- Sunday 11 - 12 noon to 5 - 7 p.m. (11:00 - 12:00 to 17:00 - 19:00)
- Supermarkets stay open for longer hours, usually between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (7:00 - 22:00) every day.
- Boutiques and smaller shops often close early at 5 or 6 p.m. (17:00 or 18:00), and usually close once or twice a week, most often on Sunday.
- All malls and department stores, as well as most other stores remain open longer hours between Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas Eve for Christmas and Holiday shopping. Many are open until 11 p.m. (23:00), and a few even longer.
- Few stores remain open 24 h; the main exceptions to this rule are most Walmarts throughout the country (especially Supercenters, which combine a discount store and full supermarket) and some drug stores like CVS, especially in larger cities like New York City and Las Vegas.
- Some stores, especially in suburban and rural areas, might remain closed on Sundays for any reason (such as most retail in Bergen County, New Jersey due to blue law, which is next to New York City, and home to four major malls and has the largest retail in the nation).
- "Ustavni sud poništio zabranu rada nedjeljom". Dnevnik.hr. June 19, 2009. (Croatian)
- http://www.gljz.hr/templates/radnaHrv.asp?sifraStranica=362[dead link]
- "Laki vähittäiskaupan sekä parturi- ja kampaamoliikkeen aukioloajoista 27.11.2009/945". Finlex. (Finnish)
- "Laki vähittäiskaupan ja eräiden työliikkeiden liikeajasta annetun lain muuttamisesta". Finlex. (Finnish)
- "openingstijden.nl". (Dutch)
- "opentot.nl". (Dutch)
- "Opening Times - for UK Businesses".
- "Opening Times". Manchester Arndale.