Garden centres, with over 3,000 square feet of selling space, are subject to the Sunday Trading Act 1994 which prohibits large shops in England and Wales from opening on Easter Sunday and limits them to a maximum of six hours trading on other Sundays during the year.
HTA Director General, Carol Paris, comments, “The Sunday Trading laws cause a high amount of confusion for gardeners and garden centres alike. It is time for change and we will work with the Garden Centre Association and other stakeholders, to influence government to amend this outdated and unnecessary legislation.”
She adds, “For many people the weekend is the only time available both to garden and to shop for the garden, and the long Easter weekend, during a peak gardening time, is clearly a premium time for this. Furthermore, garden centres play important roles as leisure destinations and as a focus for families and others within their communities. More fundamentally, the existing laws increasingly look out of place in an era of 24 hour internet trading.”
Gary Scroby, HTA Policy Manager, adds, “We recently cited the problem of Sunday Trading restrictions as an example of barriers to economic growth in a paper submitted by the Institute of Directors to No10 Downing Street. We have also suggested lifting the restrictions with Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury as an easy way to provide the national economy with a significant boost. We hope the Chancellor has taken note and he has some positive news for us in Wednesday’s Budget statement.”
The HTA is urging the millions of gardeners wanting to celebrate the arrival of spring and work in their gardens over the long Easter weekend to check opening hours before leaving home. The association is emphasising that the Sunday Trading Act covers only England and Wales and does not apply on the other days over the Easter weekend when garden centres are able to trade without restriction, including on the Bank Holiday Monday.
Gill Ormrod, Angela Bean or Cassie King
HTA Media Office
Tel: 0118 930 3132
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is the trade association for the UK garden industry. It is dedicated to helping develop the industry and its member businesses, including most garden centres and other garden retailers, growers, landscapers, manufacturers and service providers.
The HTA was founded in 1899. Its key roles include: provision of advice-based services such as business improvement schemes, briefings and help lines; training, conferences and events for members; market information and research; promotions such as the National Garden Gift Voucher scheme; and working closely with government and the media to influence policy and projects.