Why not Sundays – but at what price?

By Gérard Cornilleau

With respect to opening DIY stores on Sundays, one aspect of the issue has never been raised. It nevertheless concerns the majority of customers who shop on weekdays during the day. If stores keep their doors open late or outside traditional work days, the labour costs will rise and the structural costs will fall. The rise in cost is due to the wage compensation to be paid to employees who agree to work outside normal hours. It is now clear that such compensation is necessary. The current discussions between the trade unions and the high street chains will undoubtedly lead to an increase in compensation, with wages likely to be doubled for those working Sundays. Evening work, after 9 pm, will also be compensated. Otherwise, the number of “volunteers” is likely to fall drastically. Nor does anyone really want to argue about whether such compensation is “fair”[1]. The reduced structural costs (due in particular to lengthening the duration of capital utilization) should be accompanied by a redistribution of business between neighbourhood shops and the large retailers: as it is unreasonable to expect a higher volume of sales[2], the extension of hours should strengthen the trend towards business concentration, with fewer stores open longer. Continue reading “Why not Sundays – but at what price?”

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