On Thursday, September 28th, in the Czech Republic, stores with an area exceeding 200 square meters, such as supermarkets and furniture stores, will be closed. This is stipulated by the law on sales hours. The prohibition of operation on this day does not apply to gas stations, pharmacies, and stores located in areas with a high concentration of travelers at airports and train stations. Food retail chains expect a higher influx of customers, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday. Online supermarkets will offer deliveries even on the holiday, according to information provided by retailers contacted by the Czech News Agency (ČTK).
“There are no traditional foods or major celebrations associated with September 28th, so customers tend to buy larger quantities of fresh foods such as bread, meat, or fruits and vegetables, one to two days in advance,” said Tomáš Kubík, spokesperson for the Penny Market chain. He added that on Wednesday, stores can expect to see a few to tens of percent more customers compared to regular days.
“We have stocked our stores for today and the next two days. The usual Friday sales rush will shift to Wednesday because many customers will be heading into an extended four-day weekend,” said Jiří Mareček, spokesperson for the Albert chain. According to him, the store located on Nádražní Street in České Budějovice will remain open on September 28th because it is situated near the bus and train station. Customers will also be able to shop without restrictions at Billa mini markets located at Shell and OMV gas stations and at stores in major train stations in Prague, Brno, and Prague’s Václav Havel Airport, said spokesperson Dana Bratánková.
According to Denisa Morgensteinová, spokesperson for the online supermarket Rohlík.cz, deliveries will be made at the usual times, from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM. “We expect an increase in demand to start on Wednesday, with demand rising by about 20 percent compared to regular days. Demand is expected to be about one-third higher on Thursday,” she added.
Customers are often confused about which national holidays require stores to close, said Jan Procházka, director of the Freeport Fashion Outlet center in Znojmo. “For us, it means answering dozens to hundreds of phone calls and emails from customers. In our case, the problem is even greater because we are located on the border with Austria, and nearly half of our visitors are Austrians who don’t understand the situation at all,” he added. According to information on the Palladium shopping center’s website in Prague, stores under 200 square meters will be open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, restaurants from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and the fitness center from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM.
According to the law on sales hours in retail, which came into effect in 2016, stores with an area exceeding 200 square meters must remain closed on Christmas Eve, the first and second day of Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, May 8th, September 28th, and October 28th. Compliance with the law on these days is monitored by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority. On the remaining national holidays, namely July 5th and 6th, November 17th, Good Friday, and May 1st, the sales ban does not apply. Labor unions have long wished to extend the sales ban to all national holidays.