The Association of Convenience Stores has been quick out of the blocks to criticise the Department of Trade and Industry’s decision to review Sunday trading laws.
Last week, secretary of state Alan Johnson said the DTI was conducting a cost-benefit analysis study into the regulations.
Current law, introduced in 1994, allows large stores to open for six hours on a Sunday, while there are no restrictions on smaller shops.
However, in a letter to Johnson, the ACS argues that consumers have no real desire for longer shopping hours on Sundays and that any policy change would be controversial.
James Lowman, ACS public affairs and communications manager, added: “We have offered to assist the DTI with their review, explaining how the current Sunday Trading Act retains a balance between local and out of town shopping.” Johnson said: “It’s been a decade since the laws on Sunday trading were changed. We’re open-minded at the moment and will need to balance the views of business - small and big - and consumers, religious groups and employees before we take any decisions.”
A spokesman for the DTI added that the review would investigate whether there was a case for changing the current laws. Further details are expected to be released soon.
The multiples have welcomed the review.
A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “Like many other retailers, we support the idea of letting customers shop at a time that is convenient for them.”
A spokesman for Asda said: “We’re only reacting to what customers want and they have said time and time again that they want longer Sunday opening hours. Sunday is one of our busiest trading days.”
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