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Asda boss calls for changes to Sunday trading hours

Asda chief executive Andy Clarke has said Sunday trading laws are “fundamentally wrong” and provide an unfair advantage for online and convenience stores.

He called the restrictive Sunday trading hours “an example of rip-off Britain,” according to the Evening Standard, and is calling for them to be changed after the next election.

“Why is it right for a customer who wants to buy their milk, or eggs or bread before 10am on a Sunday morning or after 4pm in the afternoon have to pay 30% more for their goods?

“You can have online shopping which you can do anytime of the day and I think we’ve got a two-tier approach to the Sunday shopping experience, which isn’t helpful for the high street.”

In England and Wales, stores larger than 3,014 sq ft can only trade for six consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays. In Scotland, separate laws apply and retailers can open on Sundays for as long as they want.

There have been calls to make changes to the Sunday trading hours, but retailers are divided on full liberalisation as, while it could bring financial gains, it could also mean they have to employ more staff and work even harder to compete. In 2012, the government relaxed the laws for nine weeks during the London Olympics, but ruled out a permanent change to the legislation.

@Tara_Hounslea

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