Opening hours are the times that a business is open, usually a store or library. This information is often printed on a sign, or displayed inside of the shop.
Depending on the country and city, shopping hours vary widely. Some countries have no specific laws regarding the time that shops can be open, while others regulate their trading hours to the extent that they are not allowed to operate on Sundays or holidays.
In Australia, shopping hours are regulated at the state level. In most states, the shopping hours of non-essential shops are required to be closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday (in Queensland and Tasmania), Easter Sunday and ANZAC Day (in New South Wales and Victoria).
Larger stores, such as supermarkets and hypermarkets are often permitted to stay open later than the standard trading hours in order to accommodate customers who want to shop during the late night. They may also be open on weekends, or at other times that are not considered to be part of the normal trading hours, such as Chinese New Year and some religious holidays.
Supermarkets and other stores are generally open until late on weekdays, but smaller stores, boutiques and galleries are usually open for shorter periods of time. Grocery stores in the larger shopping centres are generally open until 22:00 on weekdays and 18:00 on Saturdays.
Some supermarkets in Switzerland and Belgium are open 24 hours a day. They are usually located near the railway stations and airports, or within so-called “tourist zones” on Autobahns.
Most grocery stores and shopping centers in Germany are open every day, including on the days of major German holidays, such as the national holiday on August 1. However, many smaller shops and boutiques close early on Friday evening or even earlier, especially on Saturday and Sundays.
In most of Europe, the trading hours in retail shops are regulated by law. The legislation is complex, and it varies based on size of the sales area. In 2000, small markets – less than 400 m2 in sales area – were encouraged to be open on Sundays all year around.
The main purpose of this regulation was to ensure that people were not forced to travel great distances in order to visit a shop and buy goods. In addition, the law aimed to promote social interaction amongst customers and reduce the stress on retailers.
Moreover, it was thought that if people could see that the shop was open, they would not have as much trouble finding it again when they needed to.
Some of the largest supermarket chains in Germany are now open twenty-four hours a day. These include Carrefour and Tesco, although many other brands of supermarkets are still restricted to a maximum trading hour.
Despite the fact that these rules are not universal, they have proved successful in attracting more shoppers to the market. In the UK, for example, some retail outlets have chosen to adopt a flexible working schedule that allows them to keep their stores open until late on Thursdays and Fridays in order to accommodate the needs of commuters.