Representatives from German department store groups have launched a common initiative in favour of Sunday openings. They demand a level playing field between offline and online retailers.
Loss of revenue
In recent years, German authorities have limited Sunday opening permissions to four Sundays a year, causing significant loss of revenue for retailers. At a press conference in Cologne, representatives of department store groups Galeria Kaufhof, Karstadt and KaDeWe Group have now pleaded for permission to open freely on Sundays.
According to the chains, an extension of opening hours is no less than a necessity for large stores in city centres, in order to be able to compete with online retailers, border shops and travel retailers. There is also the argument that the many tourists visiting German cities are left in front of closed doors on Sundays.
The retailers are not asking to open 52 Sundays a year, but would like to be free to decide for themselves when and where Sunday openings would be useful. The aim is to initiate a broad discussion on the subject. The department store operators fear store closures, job losses and city centre depletion if the existing strict regulation on Sunday opening hours is maintained.