Opposite him is a five-shops-knocked-into-one supermarket that is clearly much larger. The retailers rub along together. "We're on talking terms and we borrow from each other when we run out of things," the c-store trader told me, "but sometimes it disregards the Sunday trading rule, staying open till after 6pm. I complain to Trading Standards who go in from time and time but I think they are now fed up with me. The council says it hasn't the resources to keep on the case. What can I do?"
The retailer reckons he loses about £1,000 in turnover when the other store stays open for that extra hour on Sundays.
I also rang the council in question and a spokeswoman for Trading Standards confirmed that several visits had been paid to the supermarket in response to complaints. "But we haven't found sufficient evidence," she said, "and there is a half-hour leeway allowed to let people clear their shopping." I'm not sure, though, that the officers actually work on Sunday evenings. I can't see why the c-store retailer would lie about something that he clearly sees as a wrong-doing so I have suggested that he keeps a record, comparing his Sunday takings with till roll evidence (and there must be digital cameras which print time and dates on pictures these days) and then submits them to the council along with a request for a reduction in his business rates as his business has been hit through no fault of his own.