The Polish Chamber of Commerce have revealed that sales at small shops noticeably declined last month — despite supermarkets being closed for 4 Sundays in a row.
One of the intentions of the Polish Government's Sunday trading ban is to help smaller retailers in the battle against major supermarket chains. However, yesterday Polish Chamber of Commerce director Maciej Ptaszyński revealed that sales in small shops had decreased 4.7% in April compared to March.
The picture is nonetheless not entirely clear, as some say the drop in sales against the previous month can easily be attributed to the extra spending most people made for Easter.
Speaking during a debate on Sunday trading, Ptaszyński also stated his belief that the Sunday trading ban is leading to supermarkets gaining an even bigger share of the market:
"Smaller, poorer networks can not afford such advertising expenditures [as big supermarkets], so although they were supposed to gain from limiting trade – in fact they are losing. It was similar in Hungary, where large retail chains' aggressive advertising campaigns increased their market share at the expense of smaller entities"
Maciej Ptaszyński, Director of the Polish Chamber of Commerce
Ptaszyński appeared to be referring to retailers such as Kaufland and Lidl, who have heavilly promoted special offers available to customers only on Saturdays.
Even Alfred Bujara from Solidarność, who were one of the strongest voices calling for the Sunday trading ban, admitted that the figures showed more people were shopping in supermarkets. He said that "Poles are buying in bulk" but also added that "the trend will likely shrink in the next two years."
Renata Juszkiewicz from the Polish Organization of Trade and Distribution also weighed into the debate by stating that the Sunday trading ban is causing increased food waste. She believes this is the result of people buying more than they need in the fear of not being able to purchase goods on Sundays.
Meanwhile in other news related to the Sunday trading ban, Notes From Poland reports that Poland's biggest business association has filed a motion with the Constitutional Tribunal to overturn the ban. They write that Konfederacja Lewiatan believe the ban violates numerous constitutional principles, including labour protection, freedom to perform work, equality before the law (due to the exemptions that apply to certain shops) and proportionality.
Although there has been a bit of furore about the Sunday trading ban (particularly on social media), many opinion polls show that a slight majority of the country are actually in favour of it.