A relaxation of the Sunday trading laws would “be the end of some small shops”, the Rural Shops Alliance has revealed.

Its warning follows an analysis of the benefits and costs of Sunday trading among its retail members, which found that 70% open on a Sunday and achieve in excess of 15% of their week’s turnover.

Further research found that peak trading times were before 10am and after 4pm, with top selling lines including newspapers, milk, bread, beer wines and spirits, tobacco, confectionery and groceries.

Sean Carter, chief executive of the RSA said: “I feel it would be the end for some small shops who rely on these restrictions to survive.”

“Sunday is our busiest trading day in the shop and I would be greatly concerned by the nationals opening longer. Longer Sunday opening hours will further erode the convenience aspect of small rural shops and would no doubt simply add to the supermarkets huge profits at the expense of small shops,” he added.