Tesco and Asda are backing a new campaign to enable big stores to open longer hours on a Sunday.

The Deregulate campaign was launched last week, backed by major supermarkets, Ikea, B&Q and Which? magazine. It claims that 56% of shoppers would like large stores to open longer on a Sunday. Changes to Britain’s Sunday trading laws, which restrict stores of more than 3,000sq ft to only six hours of trading, would require primary legislation.

The government has repeatedly said that it does not think any changes are necessary and is unlikely to make the issue a high enough priority to allocate the necessary parliamentary time to draft new laws. However, representatives of the campaign are thought to be trying to influence this stance through talks with the Prime Minister’s policy unit. Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive David Rae said that there was no need to change Sunday trading laws.

He said: “The Sunday Trading Act works well for retailers and consumers. We would dispute the idea that consumers want greater shopping opportunities on a Sunday - the quoted figure of 56% is not high given that it was collected by surveyors canvassing in large retail outlets on a Sunday. When shoppers are canvassed in a much less biased context, enthusiasm dips even further.”

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