Rema 1000 in Norway reports 120 stores in NorgesGruppen, Coop and Bunnpris for violating the law on holidays and holiday peace. The chain claims nearly a third of Norgesgruppen’s stores are open on Sundays in violation of the law.
”Today’s regulations are not enforced – and for those who exploit it, the turnovers increase on Sundays. Either the authorities enforce the law, or all grocery stores must be allowed to stay open on Sundays,” says Ole Robert Reitan, CEO of Rema 1000.
The Sunday opening regulations has been a hot potatoe in Norway for the last year. The law states that outlets which mainly sells kiosk products or groceries, and which has a total sales area not exceeding 100 square meters, can stay open on Sundays. In December, the government proposal to allow Sunday opening was withdrawn.
Now Rema 1000, claiming their competitors circumvents the regulations, takes action.
”Stores Rema 1000 has reviewed earn good money on placing goods in porch and parts of the store that does not include lawful square meters. The result is that the actual sales area in many cases can be up to twice the stated area. Some stores also choose to keep the entire shop open or retrieve goods to customers from gated communities.” writes Rema 1000 in a press release.
”Today’s situation is clearly a disadvantage to those who actually abides by the law – and not least for customers who are misled to believe that the current stores actually have the right to stay open on Sundays. NorgesGruppen are talking as they are opposed to Sunday opening, but operate as they are for. These are double standards. For a player who dominates the Sunday market, it is clearly profitable to exploit the rules,” says Ole Robert Reitan.
He says turnover has increased on Sundays because several trades on Sunday, and several shops keep open – and Rema 1000 can not wait for political decisions anymore. As a compromise Rema 1000 proposes a solution where one may require that a Sunday open shop has its own address – with its own deliveries.
”This way it becomes easier to enforce current regulations with 100 sqm sales area – without the possibility of utilization of regulations, expanding sales space and unclear guidelines and working hours for employees. This is a solution that might help to preserve the Sunday peace,” says Reitan.
NorgesGruppen has replied it operates within all regulations – and Coop comments it is a pr-stunt from Rema 1000.