COVID-19 Raises Questions Over Viability Of Polish Sunday Shopping Ban

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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COVID-19 Raises Questions Over Viability Of Polish Sunday Shopping Ban

Increasing numbers of Polish retailers are calling for an easing of Sunday trading restrictions, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their businesses, according to a report by BIK, Poland's Credit Information Bureau.

According to CSO data, retail sales in Poland fell by 7.1% in March 2020 on an annual basis, and by 3.3% on a month-to-month basis, with some segments harder hit than others –stores selling textiles, clothing and footwear were down 50.5% on an annual basis.

According to BIK, while the act restricting trade on Sundays, which was introduced in March 2018, was developed to strengthen family unity, this approach is questionable during a period in which access to retail outlets is particularly difficult, namely the current COVID-19 situation.

Changed Conditions

"It is unclear whether the government's pro-social assumptions can be maintained in these changed conditions," commented Sławomir Grzelczak, BIK president.

"In the face of the deepening crisis associated with the coronavirus pandemic, more and more traders are increasingly suggesting that the ban be lifted or drastically reduced. The retail industry is one of the most severely affected by the current difficult economic situation."


A survey carried out in December 2019, by BIG InfoMonitor, which is part of BIK, found that the percentage of Polish consumers opposed to the Sunday trading restrictions had risen to 34% (from 31% in 2018), while the percentage of supporters had fallen to 30% (from 33%).

Of those opposed to the measures, 73% said that it constitutes a restriction on their freedom of choice, while 66% said that they were frustrated by larger queues on other days of the week.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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