More and more night shops are open from midday to midnight, whereas they are actually obliged by law to close between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws are reporting today (Wednesday) that the Minister responsible in this sphere, Kris Peeters (New Flemish Alliance), is calling upon the Economic Inspectorate to carry out more checks. Peeters is requesting that the regional public prosecutor’s offices throughout Belgium prosecute shopkeepers committing offences.
After the increases, in recent years, in the number of complaints made for unfair competition, the Minister for the Economy, Kris Peeters, has requested that the Economic Inspectorate conduct an investigation into the “night shops” sector.
Between September and December 2016, 344 points of sale were subject to checks with 234 found to be committing offences. Some 44% of them were not complying with closing days, 36% were not keeping to the rules on closing hours and 33% were infringing the pricing rules. Indeed 17% of shops checked did not even have any closing days.
The Minister is giving assurances that the matter is in hand. He says “Seven out of ten night shops are committing offences. This shows that there are a wealth of so-called ‘sham’ night shops which unfairly compete with bakers, butchers and grocers in any given district. We take this very seriously.”