Expanded retail Sunday shopping hours are getting mixed reviews in Brandon.
Stan’s IGA is one store that took advantage of the extended Sunday shopping hours that were changed by the province nearly three months ago.
"It’s more convenient for the customers," produce manager Jeremy Brown said. "We’ve seen customers coming through and the sales have gone up."
Brown said the store is happy to offer the consumer more options to get groceries on the weekends.
"It’s great for people that are getting away on Sunday," he said. "They can stop in early and get what they need."
However, it’s a different tale at one retail business located at Shoppers Mall.
"Because I belong to a church, I don’t appreciate being open on Sunday morning," said one employee who wished to remain anonymous.
"It means that I have to miss church. It means I have to miss family time."
While the extended hours may provide convenience for some shoppers who have weekend afternoons and evenings packed with sporting events or family get-togethers, the hours have an adverse effect for employees.
"It really cuts into any time we can spend with our family," she said.
Most stores in the mall require a minimum of two people on staff at all times and based on the foot traffic she has seen, the employee doubts many stores turn a profit before noon.
"Our boss loses money on a regular basis on Sunday, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the management (of the mall)," she said.
While all malls provide tangible benefits to the businesses located inside them, such as an indoor storefront and built-in traffic, it often means playing by the mall’s rules. And it’s no secret that during standard hours of mall operation, management prefers all businesses are open so the customer can reap the rewards.
However, the employee doesn’t feel that mall management is 100 per cent transparent with its traffic numbers. According to the employee, a staff worker entering the mall is counted in the foot traffic report and the same employee is recounted if they return to their vehicle to get something or go outside for a cigarette and come back in.
"There are a lot of numbers that they have used to support (extended hours), but I don’t know how reliable it is because it’s not pure customer base," she said.
She also believes that the notion that the extended hours will create jobs is a myth, as most businesses will just spread employees thinner to make up for the increase in hours instead of hiring new people, meaning the quality of service will decline, she said.
And another employee isn’t buying that the extended hours are a way to combat Canadian shoppers heading south in search of bargains.
"We keep hearing that the reason people go shopping in the (United) States is because the hours are restricted here, but it’s not the case," she said. "It’s the prices and it’s the selection. People can get it cheaper in the States. It has nothing to do with how many hours we are open."