YP Comment: Barkers ends 135 years of history

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THERE was no Sunday trading when a young William Barker started working in a North Yorkshire shop in 1882. The only stipulation in the contract of the then 14-year-old apprentice was that he attended church twice on a Sunday.

How times change. Now Barkers, the Northallerton department store that he founded, is planning to open seven days a week for the first time in its illustrious 135-year history (see Business page 6). It cites customer demand – Sunday is now just another day for many families – while the influence of online retail cannot be dismissed.

A difficult decision for a family store which previously regarded Sundays as being special, it’s even more challenging for those smaller independent shops who are having to open all hours just to compete in today’s retail environment. A day off is an unaffordable luxury, hence a wish that this Brexit-focused election does, at some point, focus on bread-and-butter issues like Britain’s high streets.