ECONOMIC REALITIES OF SUNDAY SHOPPING
1) Sales do not expand province wide, they shift from rural and smaller communities to major centers, primarily to the “big box retailers”.
2) Overhead costs to operate increase by 12 to 14% on average. This must be passed on to consumers through increased prices.
3) Many smaller stores have difficulty finding part time management staff and are not able to remain open. This leads to a loss of customers and eventual closure.
4) Independent businesses in shopping malls must obey mall-opening hours or (in spite of proposed provincial regulations) they will find lease renewals at very high cost forcing them to close.
5) Retailers in smaller communities lose market share and many will eventually close.
6) Part time staff is not always easy to obtain in spite of suggestions to the contrary.
7) Tourism will not bring increased sales. If it did, there would be pressure in Prince Edward Island to open on Sunday. Why come here to shop with the current value of the Canadian dollar?
8) Because sales volumes do not increase, provincial tax revenues will not increase as some proponents of Sunday shopping suggest.
9) The so-called ”freedom of choice” option is not practical. Anyone who understands the reality of retailing will understand that if competitors open you must also open or lose market share. Only a small number of specific niche retailers will be able to exercise choice without financial hardship.
10) The majority of independent retailers in Nova Scotia have always opposed opening on Sunday.
11) The loss of local retail has an impact on the whole community. As one retailer told me in Newfoundland, “you never see the name of the big box retailers on the shirts of our little league baseball players.”
12) Most retailers look to the Christmas season to make a profit. That would all be wiped out in the three months of January, February and March when retail sales are slow if Sunday shopping is allowed.
The realities listed above were gleaned over nearly a quarter century of involvement with independent business in Atlantic Canada and personal experience with the advent of open Sunday store hours in Newfoundland and parts of New Brunswick. Currently many communities in New Brunswick have not applied to open on Sunday.