Last Sunday, stores were allowed to be open in Bonn city center but not all shops decided to open for business. Many had personnel issues. The next Sunday shopping day is scheduled in November.
"A fresh start has been made after the crisis," says Karina Kröber optimistically. Even without a real Bonn festival, the Sunday shopping last weekend has revitalized the city center, the chairwoman of the City Marketing Association sums up. The Sinn-Leffers fashion apparel store is also very satisfied. "In view of the social distancing rules, the customer turnout was good - and people were buying," reports Heike Boerger, the department manager for ladies wear.
But here’s the flip side: at least 30 retailers including large clothing stores such as Zara and Superdry, or smaller shops such as Birkenstock and Fossil, and many jewelers and opticians decided not to take part in Sunday shopping, according to a count by General-Anzeiger. The Bonn City Marketing office also sent an email to the GA. It sums up the results of a member survey: "70% have NO interest in longer evening shopping hours". So longer opening hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays will not be pursued.
Eight Sunday Shopping Days are allowed
Many events have been eliminated by the corona pandemic
Sunday shopping is strictly regulated: stores are only allowed to be open on eight non-consecutive Sundays per year, from 1 p.m. and for five hours maximum, holidays excluded. This is the state law in NRW. Besides that, local authorities must provide evidence of a specific event such as a public festival or Christmas market to be able to get approval for the Sunday shopping. The union Verdi has already succeeded in knocking down hundreds of requests in this way. Meanwhile, many events have been cancelled because of Covid-19 in 2020. In August, Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart (FDP) issued a decree allowing four Sunday openings per municipality without any specific events. Verdi considers this illegal.
Patricia Richarz, member of the extended board of directors of City Marketing, chose to not open her jewelry store on Sunday. "We are still on “Kurzarbeit” (shortened working hours) because of the corona pandemic.” She doesn't want to participate in Sunday shopping until November and December - closer to Christmas. Still, everything must be done to revitalize the city center. "Everyone would be sad if the city was deserted," she says.
Karina Kröber expresses understanding for her colleagues, who so far have not even been able to agree on a uniform opening time of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many still have staff on “Kurzarbeit” and few reserves for additional openings. And open Sundays don’t automatically bring more sales revenue for everyone. Opticians, for example - Kröber herself has a store where they sell glasses and hearing aids - have to pay their employees extra for working on the weekend. And sunglasses were already discounted in April 2020 in order to generate any sales at all.
As a result, the city is looking for only three Sunday openings instead of the permitted eight. The next would be on November 8 and then the first Sunday in Advent to correspond with the Christmas market. But Kröber adds, "We must wait and see whether there is a Christmas market at all." Being close to the border with the Netherlands where there is regular Sunday shopping, Bonn must show that it is a pleasant place where families can go shopping on the weekend.
But Verdi is not impressed by this argumentation. District manager Daniel Kolle says that the concept for the Bonn rally last weekend had persuaded Verdi not to challenge the Sunday shopping in court. "However, the fact that a large number of stores neither use nor want the opportunity to open up is more than strange." This apparently confirms that Sunday shopping is not economically profitable. Verdi indicated it would continue to challenge the city in cases where it did not feel there was convincing grounds for Sunday shopping.
(Orig. text: Martin Wein;Translation: ck)