Asda's decision to ask local authorities to turn a blind eye' to superstores flouting Sunday trading legislation over the festive season has enraged independent retailers. After a survey revealing that most customers are content with six-hour opening on Sundays but prefer to do their grocery shopping earlier in the morning, Asda has asked local trading standards authorities to take a "relaxed view" towards stores opening before 10am on Christmas Eve, providing they only trade for the prescribed six hours. It has also approached the Home Office to ask for a one-off relaxation of licensing laws. LACOTS, the local authorities coordinating body on food and trading standards, confessed it was "surprised" to be approached by Asda on the issue. Spokesman Keith Hale said: "We've had to advise Asda that they've gone to the wrong people. They need to talk to the Local Government Association, not us." Asda has dismissed concerns that this marks the thin end of the wedge to push for permanent changes to Sunday trading legislation. But Association of Convenience Stores chief executive Trevor Dixon said any festive flexibility tolerated by the authorities could have damaging long term effects on independent retailers which the existing Sunday trading legislation is designed to protect. Spar chief Morton Middleditch warned that "tinkering with the law" would be "catastrophic for the small store sector", while the Federation of Wholesale Distributors condemned Asda's proposal as an "obvious tactical move with the medium term objective of dismantling the current legislation". Sainsbury, which has also approached the Home Office on this issue in the past, suggested Asda was well aware that a change in Sunday trading law requires primary legislation. Tesco, which has assured the Keep Sunday Special campaign that it will abide by existing legislation over Christmas and New Year, is not supporting Asda's campaign. {{NEWS }}