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Retailers throw weight behind Sunday trading

Fashion retail heavyweights have dismissed concerns about the government’s proposals to extend Sunday trading hours, arguing the move will bring the UK in line with its European neighbours.

The British Independent Retailers Association was among those to warn of the threat extended hours could pose to jobs and smaller businesses. But this week a number of larger retailers - particularly lifestyle businesses or those with stores in tourist destinations - spoke out in favour of the recommendations.

Mark Fenwick, chairman of Fenwick, said: “We have been looking for a change to Sunday trading hours for years and I don’t understand why it has been so difficult – it is what people want and we are in the business of giving people what they want so it makes sense.

“The laws have been relaxed in France and have been in Scotland for years and it has not caused anyone any problems. It has been a bugbear of ours for years, but a change could mean a significant number of jobs created for Fenwick around the country.”

Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods, added: “Extending the Sunday trading hours would definitely create extra sales rather than just shifting spend around – particularly from tourists who want to shop in their last few hours, but also from the local trade in London.”

Tom Joule, founder of lifestyle business Joules, said: “We do really well on Sundays and I’m a massive advocate of extended trading hours. As we’re a lifestyle business it makes complete sense to open when our customers want to shop.”

@Tara_Hounslea

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