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Parliament passes law restricting Sunday opening hours for shops

The Hungarian parliament today approved a law restricting Sunday opening hours for shops, MTI reported. The law means "hypermarkets", run by foreign firms would have to close on Sundays, while some Hungarian-run chains could keep many of their shops open.

 

Most participants involved in the consultations held at the economy ministry, argued against the planned restrictions on Sunday opening times. Two trade unions, the Liga Union and the Union of Trade Workers, argued as it would lead to lay-offs of 20,000-30,000 workers in the sector, and is reported to favor Hungarian chains.

The Hungarian supermarket chains may be able to keep some of their smaller stores open on Sundays, but their hypermarket competitors, such as Tesco, Spar, Auchan and Aldi, would probably be forced to close most of their businesses and cut back on their opening hours.

CBA, Coop and Reál, the top three food retailers in the Hungarian market in terms of traffic last year, said that they support the Sunday closure law, while the Association of Hungarian Retail Stores (MBSZ) said that the support of some Hungarian chains for Sunday closings is not based on facts or considerations of market reality, and the proposed law will lead to layoffs and price hikes.

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party had been open about backing the proposal by its ally, the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) on the mandatory closing of shops on Sundays only on certain conditions and after amendments.

The vote saw 119 MPs voting in favor, 40 voting against and 25 abstaining.