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Impact of relaxed Sunday Trading laws on local shops will dwarf benefits

19 March, 2012

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has hit back at the government’s plans to extend Sunday trading during the Olympics period over the Summer.

Chancellor George Osborne is leading moves to allow large stores to open all day on eight Sundays, claiming this will add £180m to the economy, but ACS data from retailers suggest the costs to local shops will be more than twice this at £480m.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This will cost convenience stores £1,500 in sales per day, or £480m in total across the industry over the Summer as big supermarkets drag trade out of towns and away from small shops. The move will also cause job losses in convenience stores. We fear this is the thin end of the wedge, and that supermarket lobbyists will persuade the Government to extend these provisions on a permanent basis.

Twice last year the Government considered this issue in detail, in its Retail Growth Review and in the Red Tape Challenge,” added Lowman. “Twice they recognised that the current position is popular and sustainable – 89% of the public oppose further liberalisation. Yet now, at the last minute and with no consultation, they are making a spurious link to the Olympics to open up superstores all over England and Wales to the detriment of local shops.”

ACS’ briefing to MPs, issued today, reveals that 30% of local shops fear an extension of Sunday trading hours could critically affect their business, while 44% have said it will costs jobs.