A Fredericton retailer who opened Sunday in defiance of the city's bylaws is calling for changes to Sunday shopping rules to help level the playing field.

Fredericton stores are only allowed to be open from noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

But Peter Roberts, the men's clothing store, opened three hours early for the New Brunswick Boxing Day, risking a $1,000 fine. The risk was worth it, said store owner Eric Neilson.

'It just needs to [give] the freedom to the merchant, or the retailer, so they're not threatened or penalized with hours that they can't operate and what they can sell.' — Eric Neilson, Fredericton store owner

"I had my projections of what I hoped to do for revenue that day … . I had half that generated by noon."

No one has complained, so the city hasn't fined the store.

Neilson, who did the same thing last year, said it's time the city changed the rules.

"It just needs to [give] the freedom to the merchant, or the retailer, so they're not threatened or penalized with hours that they can't operate and what they can sell," he said.

"Certain retailers can do things, other retail establishments can't. There needs to be a level playing field."

Up to province

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside said he agrees and sympathizes with local retailers who feel pressure to open before noon to compete with their counterparts in municipalities that allow earlier openings.

But it's up to the provincial government to create uniform hours across New Brunswick, Woodside said.

"It's not up to me to say what happens in Moncton or Saint John. It would have to be the province. It would have to be somebody that has a say in all of the communities, and the province is the only who can do that."

New Brunswick retailers should get together to talk to the province about Sunday shopping rules, Woodside said.