Sunday retail sales ban – what’s next?

It has been a year since Polish government introduced a ban on Sunday trade. For the last twelve months, Poles had limited access to stores on the seventh day of the week. The goal behind the ban was to enable retail workers to spend more time with their families. The new regulations were created out of the initiative of labour unions. During the legislative process policymakers discovered the idea of closing most of the stores on Sundays was heavily supported by workers and while some part of the public was against the ban, most Poles were ready to accept it.


Officials decided to introduce the ban gradually. From January to December 2018, stores were open only on two Sundays a month. It seems customers got used to the inconvenience. However, as 2018 came to an end, it is time to take another step forward. Starting from January 2019, there will be only one Sunday a month left to do shopping. Next year, according to the plan, the ban will be effective all month.


It appears, however, that the plan may change. According to a “secret” report prepared for the government by Sejm Analysis Bureau, Poles are not so fond of the ban after all. And they definitely do not want it to be expanded. For the ruling party, more restrictions in 2019 and 2020 will likely translate to lower support on the part of their voters. What is more, small local shops, who were expected to benefit from the restriction, are losing customers (who prefer to buy in bulk in supermarkets). All in all, the ban turned out to be a win for service stations, whose sales increased by more than 10 percent.


The legislative process regarding further restriction to Sunday shopping was halted. At this point it seems the compromise that both the supporters and the opponents of the idea of store closing are ready to accept are two Sundays a month free to shop.