Over three-quarters of the public don’t want large shops to open for longer on Sundays. In a poll, commissioned by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), it was revealed that 76% of those surveyed support the existing Sunday trading laws that only allow larger shops to open for six hours. Stores that are under 3,000sq ft in size are allowed to open for longer on Sunday.

Of that 76% that support the current laws, 52% said there should be no Sunday trading and 18% said that permitted opening hours for the day should be cut further.

The survey comes after several high street chains including Topshop, Selfridges, Boots and Burton wrote to Business Secretary Peter Mandelson calling for a relaxation on Sunday trading laws. They claim that the restrictions will cost businesses £50m in London alone on Boxing Day this year which falls on a Sunday. However, in the survey, 85% of respondents opposed a one-off change in trading laws to allow shops to open longer on Boxing Day.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the results show that large retail companies are out of touch with the public. “The overwhelming public opposition to relaxation of Sunday trading shows that the current law should be retained.

“Local shops benefit from the current restrictions because it supports a balance towards local shopping in small stores on a Sunday,” he added. “This is a balance that customers are clearly happy with and un-settling this would have a significant impact on the viability of local shops to trade not just on Sundays but throughout the year.”