The historic Victorian Market in Inverness is breaking with tradition to offer late night shopping and Sunday opening.
Several traders at the city centre venue will open until 8pm tonight as part of a six-week extended hours trial.
The market opens on Sundays in December to cater for Christmas shoppers but this is the first time opening from 12pm-5pm on Sundays will be offered in the summer season.
The council-run building has four main entrances that normally remain locked on Sundays. This means that any trader inside has no choice but to remain closed on the Sabbath.
Market superintendent Bob Mackay said if the trial is successful it would help boost not just the market but the city centre.
He said: “The traders have wanted to try later opening and Sunday opening over the summer because it’s pretty good over the Christmas period.
“The council has given them the go-ahead for the trial and I hope it all goes well. I would like to see it extended up to the end of the tourist season. It would be good for the whole town because the market really is the central hub of the town.”
He said 15 traders had already signed up – around half of the market – and he hoped more would join in.
Esther Nelson, owner of Ginger fashion and accessories shop, is one of those taking part.
She said: “We’ve got to just move with the times and try it. I think it will be a boost to the market, if people know that we are open.
“If it works I would be keen to see it extended.”
Julie Lister, owner of the Body and Face Place shop, said: “This is something the traders have been fighting for for a while.
“Retail has changed and it’s a case of trying to get everyone in the market to keep up. “Sunday shopping has been about for a while and hopefully this trial will get more locals using the market.”
She also hopes to capitalise on tourist trade, particularly Invergordon cruise ship passengers, who frequently visit the city on Sunday.
She added: “I think more people do want to shop on a Sunday so we need to give them that chance.”