Labour’s plans to add four UK-wide bank holidays would drive more than £130m through convenience retailers' tills.
Speaking to Retail Express, shop owners said they see 10-30% increase in sales over bank holiday weekends depending on weather conditions, with the majority of the additional sales on the Sunday and Monday.
Based on averaged daily convenience industry sales, this would be worth £131.5m in additional sales per year, based on the minimum level of sales increases reported by retailers.
The four new holidays would mark the four national patron saints of the UK – St Andrew’s Day (30 November), St David’s Day 1 March, St George’s Day (23 April) and St Patrick’s Day (17 March).
The new holidays would give the UK nearly the same number of bank holidays as the EU average (12.2 per year).
Jeremy Corbyn is to formally announce the policy at an upcoming union conference. Describing his plans for St George’s day, his speech reads: “It will be a day where we can all show our pride and celebrate our country’s tradition of fairness, inclusivity and social justice.”
Hitesh Pandya from Toni’s News in Ramsgate, Kent said the additional days would be good for sales and “good for the soul of the country".
“We’re a society based around working and shopping. Breaking this routine gives people time to spend with their family and gives retailers new opportunities to reach new customers,” he added.
Amit Odedra from One Stop Paston Lane in Peterborough said: “Personally, I’m not bothered about it one way or the other but from a sales perspective it would be good. The impact of a bank holiday is very weather dependent though so would depend on the time of year.”
However, another retailer added that it can be hard to get staff to work over bank holidays and it would be bad for the economy. “It’s more hassle than it is worth,” they said.
Like on Sundays, retailers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can only operate extended hours on bank holidays if the size of each store is below 3,000sq ft. Scottish trading hours are unaffected.
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