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High street opening hour extension to take on e-commerce outlets

15 August 2012 - 09:25 by Graham Miller

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The government made changes to the rules regarding opening hours for high street shops during the Olympics, but many retailers now expect that these will be made permanent, so that bricks and mortar businesses have a better chance of competing with online stores.

As part of the temporary regulations, it was possible for shops to remain open much later on Sundays, with many staying staffed until 8pm or later.

This was only due to be in place for eight weeks, but many are now campaigning for this to be permanently instated so that it is easier to compete with sites offering safe shopping online.

E-commerce has the distinct advantage over the high street of being able to offer consumers 24 hour a day shopping facilities, with no opening hours to worry about.

There is of course the delivery process which needs to be endured before an item ordered via safe shopping online arrives, but it is often the process of shopping itself that needs to be convenient, which it certainly is thanks to the internet.

Since e-commerce sites can operate automatically at any time without much human input, they do not possess the same problems as high street stores when it comes to staffing.

People who would rather see the Sunday opening hours returned to their pre-Olympic levels, are worried about how much the rule changes are eating into the weekends of shop employees.

There are fears that a continued extension of opening hours will lead to an abolishment of the weekend as a concept, although this is a view not endorsed by many.

For people in the UK who want to access shopping services when it is convenient for them, the promise of later Sunday openings may not be that much of a draw, since the internet is already on hand to fill the gaps left by the high street.