Barkers overcomes apprenticeship rules for full-time Sunday opening
Yorkshire retailer Barkers is to open its high street department store on Sundays on a permanent basis for the first time in its 135-year history.
From 28 May Barkers will begin opening seven days a week to meet demand from customers in Northallerton.
Even though its sister store, Barkers Home, has traded on a Sunday for many years, the department store, which employs more than 200 staff, resisted Sunday trading because the owners felt the town was not busy enough, and it wasn’t commercially viable to remain open an extra day. The store previously only opened its doors on a Sunday throughout December, in the run up to Christmas.
However, a steady increase in weekend shoppers has prompted a rethink.
Managing Director Charles Barker said: “
‘Sundays in Northallerton are becoming busier as there are more families out together, so it is now expected that shops and stores are open seven days a week. Visitors from outside the area are often surprised and disappointed to discover that we are closed and wonder why,’ said Charles barker, Barkers md.
Other retailers said they hoped the move would draw more shoppers. ‘This is great news because Barkers is the largest walk around store on the High Street. Opening on Sundays will attract more people to Northallerton, which will have a spin-off benefit for other shops,’ said Lindsay Judd, Northallerton Business Improvement District acting chairman.
In 1882, at the age of 14, Barkers founder William Barker began work as an apprentice in the store of John Oxendale, which would eventually become Barkers. His apprenticeship contract stated he must attend church twice on Sundays.