Is it time to relax Sunday trading laws? Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose don’t think so, surprisingly

Shops could open for longer on Sundays under George Osborne’s plans to relax trading laws.

It’s a move you’d expect supermarket giants to welcome with open arms.

But in a twist, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are all rallying against the change.

That’s because, according to insiders, it would mean fewer people heading to their smaller convenience stores where prices are higher.

However, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Next are among the chains which agree with the new change in law.

Tesco (Picture: PA)
Tesco is against the change, but has declined to comment (Picture: PA)

The law

Supermarkets have taken advantage of the current laws which state that stores less than 3,000 sq ft can open for longer on a Sunday.

This is why we’ve seen so many convenient stores spring up in recent years.

File photo dated 10/06/14 of someone holding Sainsbury's shopping bags, as Sainsbury's posted its sixth straight quarter of falling sales as the country's supermarket price war shows little sign of easing. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 10, 2015. The chain reported same store sales excluding fuel down a worse-than-expected 2.1% in the 12 weeks to June 6, which comes on top of a 1.9% drop in the previous three months. See PA story CITY Sainsbury. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Supermarkets are against the change because it would mean less people would go to their convenient stores where prices are higher (Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

The move, mooted by the Chancellor, would give stores the opportunity to extend their opening hours for more than six hours on a Sunday.

The Chancellor pointed to research by the New West End Company which found two extra hours in the capital alone would create nearly 3,000 jobs and generate more than £200million a year in additional sales.

Mr Osborne said online shopping trends suggested there was a ‘growing appetite’ for Sunday trading in high streets and retail parks, and a trial of longer hours during the London Olympics had proved a success.

But the move was condemned by the Association of Convenience Stores, which said it would force small shops out of business, had seen overall sales fall 0.4 per cent during the Games and was unpopular with the public.

It said a poll in February found 76 per cent of the public supported the existing rules with 60 per cent of those wanting change actually preferring stricter, rather than looser, restrictions.

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