Sunday trading notification and registration

There have been no restrictions on shopping hours – apart from Sundays – since the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act in 1994. All shops are now able to open without restrictions between Monday and Saturday.

Restrictions on Sunday opening times are now confined to large shops – defined under the Sunday Trading Act as those having an internal sales area of more than 280 square metres. The critical consideration is the floor area definition – which is the part of the shop within a building that is used for display of goods and customer services.

Small shops are not covered by these restrictions and can open freely. Please note an application is not required if your shop is smaller than 280 square metres.

Large shops must:

  • Be registered with the council for trading on a Sunday
  • Specify the six hours of Sunday trading – which must be between 10am to 6pm
  • Provide a sign visible both internally and externally, specifying the times of trading

They are not allowed to open on Easter Sunday – and on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday.

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 also provides specific measures to protect the rights of shop workers who do not wish to work on Sunday.

Apart from the restrictions mentioned above, it is left to individual owners to determine their opening hours in the light of customer demand.

To apply for a Sunday trading registration, traders need to complete an application form and specify your intended opening hours on a Sunday.  Once your application has been accepted, the council will arrange to enter your trading details on the register.

Tower Hamlets keeps a public register of the large shops operating in our area.  This can be viewed at the address below upon request. 

Copies of the Sunday Trading Act in 1994 can be obtained from Office of Public Sector Information or a copy can be inspected at the council offices where you may also obtain an application form and further help or advice.

Alternatively, download a copy of the application form

You will be contacted in writing on receipt of the application form.

For further information contact:

Tower Hamlets Trading Standards Team

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Opening times: 9am to 5pm - Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 5000