NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter has criticised an attempt by MP Philip Davies to relax the Sunday trading laws.
The MP for Shipley has tabled a series of amendments to the Deregulation Bill which if passed, would repeal the current laws and allow large shops in England and Wales to trade for longer on Sundays. Baxter branded the amendments an attack on independent news and convenience stores.
He said: “At present, the only advantage small shops have over their larger rivals is their ability to trade without restrictions on a Sunday. If the legislation is repealed, independents will undoubtedly lose business, as was demonstrated when the regulations were relaxed temporarily during the Olympics.”
Relaxing Sunday trading rules could be disastrous for convenience stores across England and Wales
Polling conducted by ComRes for the ACS in March showed that 77% of consumers support existing Sunday trading legislation, with 56% of those who want a change in the laws actually calling for greater restrictions on supermarket trading hours.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The existing Sunday Trading regulations are a popular compromise which gives small shops a competitive advantage over their much larger counterparts. Removing that advantage could be disastrous for many convenience stores across England and Wales.”
KPMG figures showed that during the 2012 Olympics when the regulations were removed, retail sales declined by 0.4% overall, while ACS members reported up to a 20% reduction in sales over the period and a 30% reduction in footfall.
The proposed amendments are due to be debated when Parliament returns after the Queen’s Speech. The NFRN has sent a briefing to all MPs advising them to vote against them.