Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004[1]
Long titleAn Act to prohibit the opening of large shops on Christmas Day and to restrict the loading or unloading of goods at such shops on Christmas Day.
Citation2004 c 26
Territorial extentEngland and Wales[2]
Royal assent28 October 2004
Commencement9 December 2004[3]
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004 (c 26) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It prevents shops over 280 m2/3,000 sq ft from opening on Christmas Day in England and Wales. Shops smaller than the limit are not affected.

The Act was introduced to the House of Commons by Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham as a Private Member's Bill on 7 January 2004.

The aim of the Act was to keep Christmas Day a "special" day, whereby all major retailers would be closed. Although it was traditional for major retailers to close on 25 December, some retailers, such as Woolworths, began to open some stores in the late 1990s. Both religious groups and shop worker unions were against the idea of Christmas openings, leading to pressure on the Government to pass legislation to prevent the practice. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 had previously placed similar restrictions for Christmas Day trading when a Sunday, and for Easter Day.

In 2006, the Scottish Parliament debated a similar law that would apply to shops in Scotland. The law was enacted in 2007 and it contained special provisions for New Year's Day retail activities too.[4]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 6(1) of this Act.
  2. ^ The Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004, section 6(4)
  3. ^ The Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004, section 6(3). The Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004 (Commencement) Order 2004 (S.I. 2004/3235 (C. 143)), article 2
  4. ^ Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 Accessed January 21, 2013