Shopping centres in Malaga province will soon have more freedom in deciding when to open than ever before. The Junta de Andalucía has now approved a modification to the Ley de Comercio Interior which means these businesses will be able to open on16 Sundays and public holidays a year. It means that shopping centres which are over 300 square metres in size will be able to open on six Sundays more than at present.
The new modification was approved by the Andalusian parliament last week and will come into force gradually over the next three years. Eligible stores will be able to open on 12 Sundays or holidays this year, 14 in 2021 and 16 in 2022. Shops which are smaller than 300 square metres will continue to be able to open on any Sunday and public holiday they like, as at present.
The Andalusian government says this modification will enable the shopping centres to adapt to customers' changing demand, which it considers essential in the present context of globalisation of the economy and new consumer habits.
It argues that the traditional formats of shopping, independently of size, need to be able to compete with the large online shopping platforms which have no physical presence and can operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
From now on, to determine which Sundays and public holidays they will open, they will need to prioritorise which days will be most attractive to consumers.
The regional government suggests opening on at least one public holiday when there are two or more consecutive days off, opening on Sundays and holidays during the traditional sales periods and Christmas and on Sundays and public holiday which are busiest in peak tourist periods in the Andalucía region.
More businesses to benefit
The Junta de Andalucía has also expanded the list of shops which will be free to determine the days and times they are open to the public, by including businesses that make and sell churros, crisps, nuts and sweets; those dedicated exclusively to selling cultural and sports products inside museums or cultural and sporting facilities; and those located in premises where tourism services are provided.
Apart from this, the Andalusian authorities have also decided to be more flexible in classifying Zonas de Gran Afluencia Turística (ZGAT), in other words major tourist areas, a tool which enables them to extend shopping hours in some towns and cities at certain times of the year.
From now on this classification will be granted indefinitely - local councils will not have to apply for this designation every four years - and the annual average of overnight stays in order to be included as a Zona de Gran Afluencia Turística is being reduced.
At present eight municipalities in Malaga are classified as ZGAT (Benalmádena, Estepona, Fuengirola, Manilva, Marbella, Mijas, Nerja and Torremolinos) and they benefit from freedom in opening hours for shopping in the whole of their municipalities throughout the summer.
In the case of Malaga city, the ZGAT classification is more limited and only applies to a part of the historic city centre.