• 60% of Shoppers asked said that stores SHOULD be allowed to stay open longer.
  • 74% of 18-34 age group in favour, but only  42% of the 55+ age group say yes.
  • Of those in favour convenience cited as main reason (22.9%)
  • But of those opposing, 34% says shops are open long enough                                              

Although a majority of British shoppers (60%) believe that stores SHOULD be allowed to stay open longer, extended opening hours is unlikely to drive growth without specific activity to encourage footfall.

That’s just one of the findings researched for The Grocer magazine from the first Bridgethorne Shopper Index, a quarterly survey of shopper opinions from shopper and category management specialists Bridgethorne, that will gauge satisfaction, loyalty and future propensity to purchase. The first Shopper Index will be published in full next month.

In his Budget last month, the Chancellor announced what the Treasury called “the biggest shake-up of Sunday trading laws since the 1990s”. This will give devolved powers to mayors and local councils to determine opening hours for traders in their areas. The law currently allows smaller shops to open all day but limits those more than 3,000sq-feet in size – including supermarkets – to six hours of trading.

Sunday is currently the day on which the least amount of shoppers look to do their grocery shopping and the Bridgethorne Shopper Index suggests there is no reason to expect any more money will be spent overall on food and drink as a result of extended opening hours.

However, the Index suggests there could be more trips to the supermarket with a lower basket spend across the weekor baskets shifting from Saturday or Monday into Sunday.

Categories that have a higher propensity to browse may attract footfall, but it is unlikely this will convert any more sales. This suggests that retailers of such products may need to look to more impulsive and expandable product categories as a way of re-couping the additional costs of opening longer.

The Index also shows that opinion on extended opening hours is split within different age groups. Younger, pre-family shoppers who have always known Sunday shopping are much more likely to approve, whilst the 55+ age group are much more likely to say no. Those approving had a sense that Sunday shouldn’t be different from any other day of the week, but those who said NO felt more strongly that Sunday should be different.

“The Bridgethorne Shopper Index shows that Sunday is currently the day with the least amount of shoppers for all our categories of shopping,” explains John Nevens, Bridgethorne’s Joint Managing Director.

“Shoppers’ needs appear to be fulfilled by the current opening hours available to them. It is questionable whether changing opening hours will simply spread sales across more hours whilst adding store and staff costs.”