Why Do Retailers Often Reduce Their Sunday Store Hours?


Quick Answer

Many stores have shorter hours on Sundays because Sunday store openings are still controversial in some jurisdictions and local laws may prevent standard operating hours on Sundays. Some locations still regulate when and what types of stores may open on Sundays.

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Full Answer

Mandatory Sunday store closings or “blue laws” date back to colonial times when all types of non-church-related activities were banned on Sundays. These laws reflected the biblical notion that God rested on the seventh day, and they allowed men to devote a day to church and family.

Reforms to labor laws limiting the workweek to six days cemented Sunday closings and they became a way of life. For many generations, Sundays were a traditional day of rest, although many jurisdictions allowed exceptions for retailers during holiday shopping seasons.

Things began to change in the 1970s. The entry of women into the workforce left no day for them to shop for groceries and clothing, and an increasingly secular society began questioning traditional ideals and rejecting those that no longer seemed relevant in a modern world. Jurisdictions began relaxing retail prohibitions on Sundays but maintained some restrictions to limit operating hours to allow for church attendance and continue prohibitions on the sale of certain items such as liquor and automobiles.

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