Sunday trading extension mooted for autumn

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Retailers across the country could be given more flexible Sunday trading hours

Retailers across the UK could soon be set to benefit from extended Sunday trading hours, under new plans that have been put forward by the government.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has unveiled a new amendment to the Enterprise Bill that will enable local authorities to have increased powers to set local Sunday trading laws, which could come into effect from autumn this year.

It will enable councils to extend opening hours for those businesses that request it, with the assessment of the provision of these increased hours to take place on a case by case basis.

Overall, the aim is to enable bricks and mortar retailers to better compete with their online counterparts, giving increased flexibility to extend or decrease Sunday trading times on a seasonal and demand basis.

This increased flexibility would enable high streets up and down the country to take advantage of increased tourism opportunities to coincide with local events, as well as helping to support communities and economic growth.

Business minister Anna Soubry said: "Extending Sunday shopping hours has the potential to help businesses and high streets better compete as our shopping habits change.

"The rights of shop workers are key to making these changes work in everyone's interests. We are protecting those who do not wish to work Sundays and those who do not want to work more than their normal Sunday working hours."

According to analysis of more flexible Sunday trading times that has been carried out in Sweden, following full deregulation of the industry in the country, a switch to extended hours has led to a five per cent increase in turnover for affected retailers. This is therefore a development the BIS would be keen to see take place here in the UK as well.