The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last week announced that Sunday trading hours are to be extended across the UK, which comes as positive news to indies looking to maximise sales opportunities but has also sparked concern that some may not have the resources in place to support longer trading hours.
With current laws preventing businesses opening for more than six hours, extended trading hours are likely to be of benefit to many retailers, allowing them to increase their footfall and generate further sales, but, as highlighted by Barron McCann, who specalise in providing outsourced break-fix maintenance and managed IT services for retailers across the UK, only if they can support their IT services during the extended hours and are able to maintain the same level of service as seen throughout the rest of the week.
For some retailers, current IT support service agreements may not account for the increase in weekly trading hours, meaning the business could be left without any support should issues arise outside of pre-arranged hours.
Many retailers may also look to hire new staff due to the increased strain on their current workforce. An influx of new and potentially inexperienced employees may mean an increased risk of downtime and other issues resulting from a lack of proper training. It is therefore important that businesses ensure their equipment is reliable, good SLA agreements are in place with either manufacturers or a third party IT service support provider like Barron McCann, and a good training programme is offered to ensure that any IT breakdowns are not due to human error.
Alan Watson, MD at Barron McCann said: “The proposed extended Sunday trading hours may be a blessing for many retailers, but if their IT support is not up to scratch then more damage could be done than good. The extended hours will inevitably put extra strain on businesses and their IT systems, meaning an increased risk of failure, so it is vital that managers review all essential services beforehand, and any issues are taken care of well before the changes are implemented. With the introduction of the new ‘National Living Wage’ retailers will already be reviewing their costs, so it’s important to also assess their current IT service maintenance contracts to ensure they are adequately covered should their Sunday trading hours be extended.”