If customers accept the adjustment, merchants might shorten their working hours based on a consistent business policy as it would be more favourable and rewarding from companies’ point of view – explains Magyar Nemzet. Assessment of the pre-planned modification has already begun by a trade union, as there is a significant labour shortage in shops by which quality service cannot be guaranteed. Presumably, stores in the future will close two, four or even six hours earlier than today, if the consumers will accept the arrangement.
According to Magyar Nemzet, even though the government strongly refuse the restriction of Sunday opening hours of retail stores, the issue of weekend opening hours might get back on the agenda. The majority of the chain stores have already realised that all-day long operation on Sundays – from 6 am to 10 pm – causes several difficulties due to social and economic reasons. It is not worth it for the companies to keep open during these days. However, in the booming market competition, larger retailers cannot afford to stay closed on Sundays as other competitors would attract their customers.
According to the President of Commercial Workers Independent Trade Organization (KDFSZ) – Csaba Bubenkó –
“It has been previously revealed that neither the government nor the buyers support the total closure of shops, which is also accepted by the union due to the diverse consumer needs and employees undertaking weekend working hours for extra money in return. However, supermarket chains should consider the idea of shortening their opening hours on Sunday evenings based on a mutual self-regulating system.”
This would result in a more efficient work organisation for the companies and would make stores more attractive to job seekers having families. Additionally, the quality of customer service could also become more concentrated as more skilled workers would be available during opening hours.
It seems that employers are open to the compromising solution that would favour all market participants and consumers as well. As Csaba Bubenkó reported, the union’s survey examining workers’ demand will be followed by asking the general public’s opinion about shorter opening hours on Sundays.
It is expected that mainly shopping malls will oppose the adjustment, while discount stores will be more unresisting. This can be explained by the fact that the interest of shopping mall operators is to enable their tenants’ operation during extended opening hours throughout the whole week. Besides malls, other stores are also expected to reject the arrangement; however, a reasonable compromise could be realised if instead of closing at 10 pm, shops would finish their operation at 8 pm, but rather 6 pm or 4 pm.
As György Vámos, General Secretary of the National Trade Association said –
“Customers are the most important and the majority of them would like shops to be open on Sundays. However, considering store employees’ interests, they might be willing to accept the initiative; but in the case of resort areas, the availability of stores in the late hours is a significant factor. He highlighted that firstly the acceptance of the general population should be examined, by which the question of Sunday opening hours can be reconsidered later on.”