Independent retailer welcomes U-turn on deregulation of Sunday trading hours

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The largest independent retailer in the region, the East of England Co-op, has welcomed the government’s U-turn on deregulation of Sunday Trading Regulations.

Roger Grosvenor Joint CEO East of England Co-op, who has spent over 48 years in retail, had written to Business Secretary Alok Sharma urging against the relaxation of Sunday trading regulations.

In an email, also sent to the region’s local MPs, Mr Grosvenor said: “Our nation’s convenience stores have been a critical service to consumers during the pandemic. They have been a lifeline to isolated communities, and many convenience retailers are small, family-run private businesses.

“While relaxing Sunday trading regulations may be of benefit to major Food retailers, it would be at the detriment of convenience stores.”

The East of England Co-op operates 122 Food stores, the majority of which are within the convenience sector. Over the past 3 months, the retailer has observed a significant change in customer behaviour, with fewer shopping on Sundays and evenings.

A recent Populous poll also showed that 58% of the public support the current laws with regard to Sunday Trading, with only 21% in favour of a change[1].

Commenting on the news of the U-turn, Mr Grosvenor said: “I am pleased to hear that the government are no longer pursuing the deregulation of Sunday trading hours. Based on our experience and recent poll results, it is my opinion that there is no benefit to the consumer in de-regulating Sunday trading hours within the Food sector.”