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Why retailers open or close their doors on Sunday

Published: Thursday, Nov. 21 2013 4:00 a.m. MST

“Shopping-wise, it means … less foot traffic, so it obviously has economic impact,” he said, adding that it limits job opportunities for teens or weekend workers who can only work one day — Saturday.

Bergen County, though, is by no means ailing economically. Baratta said Bergen is one of the wealthier counties in New Jersey and the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economics, Bergen County was ranked 23rd in the country for highest personal income per capita at $65,486 in 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau showed Bergen County's median income from 2007 to 2011 as $83,443, which was $12,263 more than the state average.

“It wouldn’t have a big effect on the county whether we had Sunday businesses open or not," Baratta said. “People have so much money to spend and I don’t think having six days or seven days is going to make a difference.”

Baratta said supporters and opponents of the blue laws are passionate about the blue laws. Polling has shown, she said, that the majority of Bergen County still supports the blue laws.

Steinberg contends letting businesses decide whether they want to be open on Sundays and allowing market forces to work it out would be the best solution.

Customer is king

Amazon’s decision to start delivering on Sunday was about the customers, Cheeseman said.

“Adding Sunday as a delivery day is a way Amazon customers can get their orders every day of the week,” Cheeseman said. “We believe it’s an added convenience to our customers to deliver these packages to our customers on Sunday.”

Amazon will start Sunday delivery in the New York City and Los Angeles metro areas, Cheeseman said, and by 2014 Amazon plans to bring Sunday deliveries to Dallas, Houston, New Orléans and Phoenix, among other areas.

Customer demand is also the reason cellphone provider Verizon opens its doors on Sunday, said Bob Kelly, a spokesman for Verizon.

“We’re a national company,” Kelly said. “Our stores' hours are pretty standardized across the country. And customers do rely on us seven days a week and we want to be there for them when they need us to be there.”

Mobile technology, Kelly said, is growing and becoming “a part of the very fabric” of people’s lives. “That means having retail stores open seven days a week,” he said.

Branding and sacrifice

For Richard Storm, who runs a photography business in Queens, a New York City borough, being open on Sunday is about branding as well as meeting customers' needs. Local mom and pop stores can market themselves as a store open seven days a week to attract customers, he said.

“You want to beat out the competition,” he said. “Customer service is a really big part of that. If you offer something that someone else doesn’t, then it’s better for you.”

Laudati faced similar competitive pressure in New York City. The only way to stay afloat, she said, was to open on Sundays.

But she feels there’s a sacrifice people make by remaining open on Sundays.

“I’m very happy from a business standpoint to keep my clients happy, but I would much prefer to stay closed on Sundays,” she said. “It’s a strain. And you can tell it’s a strain because you’re always making a sacrifice for your loved ones or your personal life.”

Giving all employees that break from the workweek was the main reason why Hobby Lobby changed its policy.

Parker said the Oklahoma-based company didn't always close its stores on Sundays. But in 1999, its evangelical Christian owners tested the idea out on a store in Nebraska. A year later, all company stores closed their doors on Sundays.

"Sunday would be a profitable day to open," he said. "But we feel that taking care of our employees is more important."

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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