adsa sunday opening

Relaxation of Sunday trading rules will jeopardise high streets because local authorities favour deregulation for out-of-town supermarkets and large shopping centres, the Association of Convenience Stores research has found.

The findings were included in the trade body’s submission to the government’s six-week consultation, which closed on Wednesday.

The consultation proposes two options: “devolving powers to local areas, for example to metro mayors, through ‘devolution deals’; and/or devolving powers to local authorities more generally across England and Wales.”

Under the proposals, councils would have the discretion to choose which areas would benefit from the longer hours.

The ACS survey of 70 local authority CEOs found 52% included out-of-town retail parks or supermarkets, and large shopping centres as their first or second preference for deregulation.

Some 45% felt the decision of neighbouring authorities would influence them.

“The government claimed when launching this policy that it would boost high street sales, but this is simply not true because most high street stores are already able to open whenever they want,” said ACS CEO James Lowman.

The clear winners would be out-of-town retail parks and large superstores, he added.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors, in its own submission to the consultation, said allowing larger stores to open for longer on Sunday would lead to closures among independent shops, reduce diversity on high streets and deprive communities of family-run shops that gave their neighbourhoods character.

“There is little evidence to suggest that the public want Sunday to become the same as every other day,” said FWD CEO James Bielby.