Pressure is mounting on the government to ensure the temporary relaxation of Sunday trading hours during the Olympics and Paralympics for supermarkets does not become permanent, reports today’s Independent Retail News.
The jury is still out on the impact longer trading hours for stores over 3,000sq ft are having on smaller stores, although the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) says some shopkeepers are suffering up to a 10% decline in sales.
Londis retailer Steve Bassett, who has stores in Weymouth and Southampton, said Sunday business normally peaked at his shops after 4pm, when most supermarkets close for the day after six hours of trading.
He did not think many people realised the big stores could open for longer on Sundays until 9 September, but the concern was if the government agreed to permanently scrap the trading laws. “People will get used to the idea and it will get bigger,” he said.
NFRN president Alan Smith said relaxed Sunday trading laws meant small stores were denied the chance to benefit from the increased spending from the Olympics and Paralympics. He said the federation would continue to lobby the government to ensure “this temporary move does not become permanent”.