At present, supermarkets and large retailers can open only for a maximum of six hours on a Sunday, while smaller retailers are able to trade for longer. However, Tesco stores across the country opened one hour early on Sunday, December 23, for "browsing". This allowed customers to walk around the stores and fill up their trolleys before the official opening of business.
Many stores also opened their doors at one minute past midnight on Christmas Eve (a Monday), before staying open until 5pm.
Opening times also formed a central part of Tesco's Christmas television campaign, in which it highlighted the Sunday trading restrictions, and the actions it was taking as a result.
However, a spokeswoman for Tesco denied that it was about to launch any challenge to get the laws changed. "Because Christmas Eve fell on a Monday, we simply wanted to give our customers as much time as possible to get their shopping done," she said.