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Sunday trading defeat: retailers of all sizes react

Many retailers have breathed a sigh of relief after the government’s proposals to extend Sunday trading hours in England and Wales were defeated in the Commons yesterday.

MPs voted by 317 to 286 against the proposals, which would have handed powers to extend Sunday trading hours for larger retailers to local authorities.

While the British Council of Shopping Centres and New West End Company immediately issued statements expressing their disappointment at the outcome of the vote, many retailers Drapers spoke to today were of the opposite view.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “Actually I’m pleased it won’t be extended. I used to be pro, but I’m not sure there would be more money in the economy and it’s quite anti-social for people to come into work on a Sunday. It would have led to more costs. The public has enough time to shop during [existing] hours.”

Ian Hopkins, co-founder of young fashion indie Pulp, which has six stores across the UK, said: “I’m happy with the result. From a business level, I think extending hours is nonsense. There’s no logic in it – spend is simply only going to be spread over a larger period and it would have increased our cost base. I don’t believe in any given week there was blind bit of hope it would have led to more money.”

Touker Suleyman, owner of Hawes & Curtis and Ghost, said he was happy with the status quo. He added: “I think in certain industries in retail, let’s say supermarkets, you can understand that people might want to buy [during extended trading hours], but not for fashion. I’m happy with the way it is.”

Joules founder Tom Joule agreed: “A Sunday is a good for us. Would extending Sunday trading hours make it any better? I don’t think so. I think people shop within the parameters you set. We’re not a convenience store - people aren’t to be worried about not getting their cat food.”

However, Bernard Dreesmann, chairman of London department store group Morleys, said he was slightly disappointed by the outcome. “Sunday is still the largest trading day of the week per sales per hour for us,” he said. ”We’re in London and within the M25. I think when you live in a cosmopolitan city you want to try and make it easier for your customers to shop. From a customer point of view, we would have liked to have been open longer.”

James Jones, director at premium indie Robinsons of Bawtry in South Yorkshire, says he was non-plussed by the decision. “We operate seven days a week anyway because we have to as an independent. I think extending trading hours is a natural progression and it’s inevitable in the future. It will happen. However this wouldn’t have impacted us either way, I don’t think we would have altered our times.”






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