Antwerp retailers in the inner-city can now officially open their stores on Sunday, as the decision has been published in the Staatsblad.
By the end of last year, Antwerp asked to recognize the inner-city as a tourist zone, which would allow retailers to open their stores on Sunday. The approval has now been given, which means stores between the Leien and the river and from Eilandje to Zuid can open on Sunday.
From September onwards, the Antwerp municipality wants to promote the first Sunday of each month both locally and abroad. It will also promote its cultural activities on Sunday in an attempt to get more tourists to the city. At first, the promotional campaign will focus on Brussels, the Walloon region and the Netherlands.
Not everyone believes the Sunday opening is a good thing, as certain retailers don't think it will bring in more turnover, but that people will just delay their purchase. Sunday openings can also result in additional costs which in turn may lead to higher prices.
"Just plain normal"
Not everyone is against the approval. "We gave the Sunday openings a positive advice, even though plenty of retailers feared the 24h economy. Look at Blankenberge, Knokke, Bruges or Breda, where it is just plain normal to shop on Sunday as it draws in additional tourists", Nico Volckeryck of the store association Kammenstraat United stated.
Philippe Thewissen (of store association Beleef Antwerpen) believes Sunday openings are a good thing. "At first we were concerned about the Sunday rest and the additional staff costs, but I am convinced we can generate additional turnover when we can attract new customers from outside the city."