Seasonal and Sunday trading

When can shops open on Sundays in Northern Ireland?


In Northern Ireland. Large shops can only open on a Sunday between 1pm and 6pm. Large shops are defined as retail businesses with a floor area of more than 280 square metres (3,014 square feet).

Smaller shops can open whenever they choose.

If you run a large retail business you also need to check whether you require permission from your district council to load and unload goods before 9am on a Sunday.

There are significant fines for large shops that fail to comply.

Shops exempt from Sunday trading rules

Some categories of large shop are exempt from the restrictions placed on opening hours. They are:

  • off-licences selling only or mainly alcohol - see when can you sell alcohol in Northern Ireland?
  • airport and railway station outlets
  • service station outlets
  • registered pharmacies selling only medicinal products and medical and surgical appliances
  • farms selling mainly their own produce
  • outlets wholly or mainly selling motor or bicycle supplies and accessories
  • suppliers of goods to aircraft or sea-going vessels on arrival at, or departure from, a port, harbour or airport
  • exhibition stands selling goods

Sunday trading employee rights

Workers in any size of shop that opens on a normal Sunday, Easter Sunday or Christmas Day may have special employment rights.

Read more about Sunday working and night working.