The Wroclavia centre is to extent its opening times to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays ahead of the first Sunday trading ban on March 11th.
The trading ban, which will be active every other Sunday as of March 11th, is the result of pressure from members of the Polish Catholic Church and the Solidarność trade union. It was voted into law by the Polish Parliament late last year.
In 2019 large supermarkets and large shops will be closed 3 times per month, with a total Sunday shutdown (bar some special exceptions) planned for the following year.
Under the terms of the ban, the Wroclavia centre can continue to operate on Sunday. However only certain business will be able to trade. The shopping mall's cinema will be open on Sunday, as will all the cafes and restaurants. Newsagents, launderettes, florists, petrol stations, convenience stores and bakeries can also do business on Sundays.
One of the aims of the Sunday trading ban is to give hard-working retail staff the opportunity to enjoy some time off at the weekend. Unfortunately from the perspective of those who do work in shops, a lot of the benefits of the free Sundays look set be negated.
If other shopping centres and supermarkets follow Wroclavia's lead, many shop workers could find themselves working until 11pm on Fridays and Sundays. Biedronka have also announced that they are seriously considering introducing nightshifts between 00.15 and 05.45 on Mondays that follow a Sunday with a trading ban.
Even if retail staff don't have to work at the unsociable hours mentioned above, they could easily find themselves out of a job. It is expected that a number of part time employees will be made redundant after the trading ban kicks in. An area manager of a major clothing chain has already confirmed to Wrocław Uncut that some of her company's staff are to be relieved of their duties next month.
Some economic observers have even suggested that the trading ban could accelerate automation, further harming the prospects of those employed in the retail sector.
One example of innovation in this field is already visible inside the Magnolia shopping centre, where internet shoe store eobuwie.pl have set up a 'warehouse'. All of the transactions inside the premises are made online via special tablet devices, while the staff are all employed as logistics workers. By using this method it is believed that the online shoe giant will be able to trade on Sundays.
One company that seems set to benefit from the Sunday trading ban is Orlen. The state-owned petrol station firm appeared to learn about the ins and outs of the Sunday trading ban well before their competitors.
As a result, they are taking advantage of their right to trade on Sundays by extending their product range. Soon will it be possible to buy things like fresh meat, shoes and even electronics at Orlen petrol stations.
Ever since the Sunday trading ban was passed into law by the Polish Parliament, there have been countless suggestions as to how shops may get around the new legislation. However with just a few weeks until the ban kicks in, very few retailers appear willing to run the risk of a hefty fine by using a legal loophole to keep trading.
It had been suggested that supermarkets with in-store bakeries could flout the ban by classing themselves as bakeries. That option was nonetheless blocked by the government, who amended the law by adding a clause stipulating that each bakery's main source of income must be baked goods.
Another idea has been to open shops as 'showrooms' whereby customers can browse products and then purchase them online. Last month, the boss of the 'Top Secret' clothing chain suggested that he would use this method to keep his shops open on Sunday. That said, there has been virtually nothing said of this since the story hit the headlines.
Another exception to the law are shops inside train stations, bus stations and airports, all of which are able to trade on Sundays. The existence of this exception had sparked rumours that shops in the Wroclavia centre could stay open due to the fact that the bus station is in the same building. However any shop that does open must prove that its product offering "serves the needs of the passengers". So far we are not aware of any shop inside the Wroclavia centre that is prepared to use this clause to open on Sundays.
If you are desperate to find a supermarket open on Sunday, there does appear to be at least one option. We do expect that the Biedronka store located inside the main train station will continue to operate as normal on Sundays. Its location inside of the train station, combined with the fact it sells snacks for the passengers, means there shouldn't be any barriers to it trading seven days a week.