Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stores set new Sunday hours

Shops can open earlier Aug. 1

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Winnipeggers will soon start their Sunday shopping earlier, but how early will depend on the stores they patronize.

Three of the city's largest shopping centres -- Polo Park, St. Vital and Kildonan Place -- indicated they will be opening at 11 a.m. on Sundays. The city's Costco stores will open at 10 a.m., while major grocery stores are expected to open at 9 a.m.

The Manitoba government passed legislation in June extending Sunday shopping hours to between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. from the current hours of noon to 6. The new rules take effect Aug. 1.

However, each municipality must pass a bylaw enabling the change. Winnipeg city council is expected to approve the measure at its July 18 meeting.

Many shopping centres across Canada -- including those with more liberal hours than Manitoba's -- do not open their doors before 11 on Sundays because they find most customers aren't interested in shopping earlier.

Deborah Green, general manager of Polo Park Shopping Centre, said her mall will open at 11 on Aug. 5 as long as the required city bylaw is passed.

"It just gives people that extra hour, especially in the summertime. It's nice weather. People are out. Maybe they want to get their shopping done so they can go to the beach. Or they might want to pick up a couple of things on their way to the beach," Green said.

John Graham, a Canada Safeway spokesman, said the company's Winnipeg stores will open as early as legally allowed. Across North America, Sunday mornings are a prime time for grocery shopping, he said.

"People want to get grocery shopping behind them. We expect the same response in Winnipeg, very positive," he said.

A local Walmart official, who declined to give his name, said his company's outlets would likely open at 9 a.m. on Sundays. But he said no official decision will be made until Manitoba municipalities approve the new hours.

Costco spokesman Ron Damiani said the legislation means Winnipeg stores will open at 10 on Sundays in keeping with the company's hours across Canada. They will be open until 5 p.m. on Sundays, he said.

Cheryl Mazur, general manager at St. Vital Centre, said while her mall's doors will open at 11 on Sundays, beginning in August, stores with their own exterior doors such as Chapters and Walmart will be able to open earlier.

She also said the mall could choose to open earlier than 11 on Sundays during the Christmas shopping season.

Mazur said that for now, the additional hour the mall plans to be open "will be fabulous for our tenants and for shoppers."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 9, 2012 B7

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