Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed Sunday trading laws are to be relaxed during this summer’s Olympics.

Stores over 3,000 sq ft are currently only allowed to open for six hours on Sunday in England and Wales, but for eight weekends between July and September this would be relaxed, Osborne said.

“We’ve got the whole world coming to London and the rest of the country for the Olympics,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“It would be a great shame - particularly when some of the big Olympic events are on Sunday - if the country had a closed for business sign on it.”

The move was immediately condemned by the Association of Convenience Stores.

“Sunday Trading is a popular compromise that affords everyone the opportunity to shop in large and small stores, but also maintains a sense of Sunday being an important and distinctive day in the week,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.

“The government already looked at Sunday trading as part of their Red Tape Challenge and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current regulations. If government makes this concession this time the big retail lobby will be pressing for all sorts of exemptions for other events during the year and the whole principle will be undermined.”