Sunday trading hours could be relaxed for supermarkets if a newly launched campaign group can persuade MPs to change the rules.
The Open Sundays campaign has not yet revealed its backers, but it describes itself as a “broad alliance of consumers and retailers”, which is focusing on making it easy for the public to convince Parliament of the need for change.
Currently shops larger than 3,000sq ft are only allowed to open for six hours on Sundays, giving smaller shops an advantage on the Sabbath.
Open Sundays director Mark Allatt told Retail Express the group’s polls so far indicate that between two-thirds and three-quarters of the public would be in favour of relaxing Sunday trading regulations.
“This is an issue of customer choice – it’s not from a retailer’s perspective,” he said.
“People would like to be able to shop when they want to on a Sunday.”
During the 2012 Olympics in London the Government waived Sunday trading regulations for superstores for the eight weekends during the Games. The ACS estimated this left the average independent retailer £12,000 out of pocket through lost trading.
Allatt said shopping habits have completely changed since the rules were made in 1984 and that the law needs updating.
“Independent retailers should not be afraid of this,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be about restricting people’s choice. Your readers should embrace the competition and create a reason for people to want to go to their local convenience store.”