Supermarket bosses call for extension to Sunday trading hours at Christmas

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Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips and his Asda counterpart Andy Clarke have written to business minister Michael Fallon to call for the extension of Sunday trading hours this Christmas.

Philips (pictured) said that although he was “very supportive” of Sunday trading hours, it would be “ridiculous” to enforce the rule on December 23 this year, when he expects 2.5 million shoppers to descend on the company’s stores.

“David Cameron has talked about us being in the economic equivalent of a war,” said Philips. “This is a case where we need a relaxation of the rules.

“I think we’ve got to be less puritanical about this. We’re only asking for two or three extra hours.”

Morrisons will be opening its stores for browsing an hour early on the 23rd - shoppers can fill their trolleys but will not be allowed to pay for items until the stores have officially opened for its six hours of trading.

For eight weeks before, during and after the Olympic Games this summer, supermarkets were allowed to extend their trading hours on Sundays. “If we can open for the Olympics, we can open on the 23rd”, said Philips.

Readers' comments (6)

  • I think the shops are shut for 1 day!!!! At Christmas people do not have to continually be shopping and as extra hours in summer proved people didn't spend more it just spead it out! ridiculous and think of the shop workers

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  • Has any thought been given to the poor sods who have got to work extra hours? Why not mess up everyone's life who work in Supermarkets? This is just the thin edge of the wedge of 24hr opening on Sundays.
    Soon we'll be flying the stars and stripes, singing the star spangled banner and celebrating thanksgiving day!!!!

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  • I am contracted to work every Sunday and I have no intention of working beyond 1pm - 6pm big stores got away with this during the olympics and the unions said this would be a fore runner for sunday trading as a normal day. we need to nip this in the bud now.

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  • I was a supermarket worker and I still feel it is abhorant that the shops should want to open longer at Christmas, it is bad enough that staff have to work over the holidays and I hope common sense will prevail and no extra hours will be foisted upon hard working staff.

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  • The 23rd is traditionally "THE" day for the xmas food shop, consumers won't want to buy fresh food on the saturday for consumption on tuesday, similarly they will have plans for the 24th that don't involve shopping.

    It isn't a matter of when people would like to work but people WILL be turing up at Asda/Tesco/JS/Morrisons on the 23rd expecting a full offering of food and with only 6 hours of trading it is unlikely they will get that.

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  • If the shops had opened any longer on the 23rd, would we have bought anymore overall? Answer = no. All that would have happened is that trade (and spend) would have been spread out more.

    If the shops opening hours were reduced over Christmas (and throughout the year) would we actually end up spending less overall? Probably not, but retailers costs might be reduced as a result, thus their prfits might increase?

    In many ountries abroad, big shopes never open on a Sunday - how do they cope??

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