Government decides against further liberation of store opening hours
The Finnish government decided on Wednesday that it would not take the proposal of further liberation of Sunday opening hours to Parliament this term.
However, Finland’s Minister of Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen (Centre) was inclined to propose a plan for moderate deregulation of store opening hours.
On the other hand, it is recorded in the present government programme that the legislation on opening hours is not to be changed. Moreover, the Social Democratic Party has constantly been in favour of the current restrictions, and even the Centre Party has expressed no great desire to change them.
On the other hand, Mauri Pekkarinen noted on Wednesday that nothing would have prevented them from changing the retail opening hours. He also said that the issue is very sensitive, while various interest groups have entirely conflicting opinions on the opening hours.
Currently, shops are allowed to be open on Sundays from May to the end of August and again during the Christmas season from November to the end of December.
However, Minister Pekkarinen would have been willing to change the Sunday opening hours so that stores could be open every Sunday from August to the end of November - but only until 8.00 pm.
According to Pekkarinen, this change would have increased the total number of opening hours by one percent.
As agreed in the government programme, the government is now to draw up a report to Parliament on the status of retailers. This report will include also an account of the centralisation of the Finnish retail sector.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Only moderate changes in prospect for Sunday opening hours (1.3.2006)