By Marek Strzelecki and Adrian Krajewski | Bloomberg
Poland’s ruling party approved a law that will gradually impose a ban on Sunday shopping, meeting the demand of its conservative Catholic supporters with a measure that risks undermining economic growth and hitting corporate profits and real-estate investors.
The Law & Justice party, which has vowed to pull the European Union’s largest eastern member out of the bloc’s mainstream and return it to its traditional roots, passed a law on Friday to force retail businesses to close for two Sundays a month next year and for all but a few exceptions in 2020. Backed by labor unions and the Catholic church, the bill must now be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed into law by President Andrzej Duda.
While other EU members force shops to close on Sundays and holidays, Poland’s economy is based largely on domestic consumption, and many companies depend on weekend shopping for a large part of their sales. An example is the country’s largest clothing retailer, LLP SA, where 18 percent of revenue comes from Sunday shoppers. Household consumption was the main driver of economic growth in the third quarter.
“Any restriction of economic activity, such as retail trade, results in weaker economic growth,” Michal Dybula, a Warsaw-based economic strategist at Bank BGZ BNP Paribas, said by phone. “It may impact the earnings of affected companies, but consumers might also react by stockpiling goods.”
Poland’s economy grew 4.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the biggest increase since 2011.