The Federation of Wholesaler Distributors is calling for independent retailers to be excluded from any potential legislation that bans supermarkets and large stores opening on Christmas Day.

It is widely expected that secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt will push through an amendment to the 1994 Sunday Trading Act during the next session of Parliament, which opens on November 26.

The Act currently outlaws stores over 3,000 sq ft from opening on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday, but not when it falls on other days in the week.

A government consultation paper published in April 2003, proposed stores over 3,000 sq ft be prohibited from opening on Christmas Day falling on any day in order to "maintain the special nature of Christmas Day."

More details in The Grocer magazine - available from all good newsagents.