The move was arguably long overdue given you can already shop when you like online.
But the announcement in George Osborne’s ‘Budget for Working People’ of the relaxation of Sunday trading laws won’t have been greeted warmly by many working in the independent retail sector - who will now be worrying that what slender competitive advantage they had over their big-box grocery rivals is about to be all but wiped out.
Not that those rivals are exactly screaming from the rooftops. After all, some have their own c-store estates and won’t want sales to be cannibalised by those of their larger stores, which could well happen unless longer opening hours boost overall spend and their slice of the pie. I’m not convinced they will. What is worth looking out for is an adverse impact on online sales. Could we be in for the next phase in the bricks versus clicks war, even the next seismic transformation of the retail landscape? If landlords keep driving their leisure offers in shopping centres, it may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.
Another measure that could have a significant impact is the loss of interest relief available to buy-to-let landlords. Although it could force landlords to sell and therefore boost the supply of housing for sale (not to mention level the playing field for first-time buyers), it could also reduce the amount of rental property available and spark a rise in rents.
More importantly, it will do nothing ultimately to increase overall supply, which will no doubt spark renewed concerns that government is too fixated on short-term, populist measures rather than the long-term, meaningful solutions to the housing crisis.
One year on
This week marks my one-year anniversary back at Property Week. I’m still standing… just… and Property Week, I’m delighted to say, is in rude health. The move to Croydon prompted what can only be described as a period of upheaval. But the great thing about a challenge of that magnitude is that it offers an opportunity equal in scale.
I cannot believe that in 12 short months, we have not only rebuilt the whole team but also made huge changes to the magazine itself. Our residential coverage now resides proudly at the front of the magazine; we have reintroduced the international news page; Recovery has been reinvented as Forecast and Ludgate as Metropolis; we’ve launched finance newsletter Finance Daily; data is now a core part of our offer both in print and online; the features are more heavyweight (and better-looking); the markets and opinions sections have been redesigned; we’ve upped the number of supplements we do; we’ve launched PW Perspectives; and - there’s no rest for the wicked - this week, we have revamped the opening news spread and introduced, or more accurately reintroduced, Private Investor.
We hope you’re enjoying the ride as much as we are. Suffice to say, there’s more to come. Watch this space!