Allowing large shops to open for longer hours leads to a displacement of trade from small stores. During the Olympics in 2012 when Sunday trading rules were abandoned for eight weeks, convenience stores lost up to £26m in trade.
Permanent removal of the regulations could result in a net loss of 3,270 jobs. (Oxford Economics/ACS - 2015)
Proposals would not benefit high streets - local authority chief executives would prioritise extending Sunday opening hours for out of town supermarkets, out of town retail parks and large shopping centres. (ACS - 2015)
View from James Lowman, Association of Convenience Stores
The majority of the public are in favour of the existing Sunday Trading regulations, which strike the right balance between the needs of shopworkers, consumers, high streets, small shops and supermarkets. Changing the current laws would serve only to displace trade from the local shops that have been keeping communities going during this pandemic. If anything, local shops and other retailers have been reducing the number of opening hours in their business to keep their staff safe whilst restocking and cleaning stores, and we expect non-essential retailers to operate with limited hours when they re-open later this month.
There are many measures that have been recommended through high street reviews and task forces in recent years that could support the recovery of high street businesses, but at no point has a change to Sunday Trading regulations been considered and with good reason. To upset the balance that has been struck on opening hours on Sundays would put small shops at risk, with increased costs but no guaranteed benefits for their larger counterparts.
If you support your local shop, it’s vital that you support the Keep Sunday Special campaign to keep the successful and popular Sunday Trading Act.
View from James Bielby, Federation of Wholesale Distributors
Members of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors supply and support 72,000 small retailers, many of whom provide vital services on the doorstep of less mobile and less well-off people. They support communities in cities, towns and villages, giving local residents the option to shop when and where they need to, and buy fresh food every day. For these shops, the advantage provided by the current Sunday trading laws is vital to help them provide their service to millions of people, not only on Sundays, but throughout the week
There is little evidence to suggest that the public want Sunday to become the same as every other day. Nor is there substantial evidence that the economy will benefit from longer opening hours – the result of the temporary relaxation in 2012 was that sales spread over the longer period rather than increasing. However, allowing larger stores to open longer will take business away from independent shops in residential and rural areas, which may mean they are forced to close.