Sunday trading hours could be abolished for some of the UK’s largest retailers following the emergency budget on Wednesday July 8.
Chancellor George Osborne has drawn up a timetable that will allow department stores and large supermarkets to trade for more than six hours on the day, in one of the biggest shakeups to retail in 20 years.
The liberalisation of trading hours, is expected to form part of the Chancellor’s plans to make the economy more productive and will put bricks-and-mortar retailers on a level playing field with ecommerce players.
The Treasury was influenced by data following the eight week suspension of the law during the Olympics in 2012, which delivered a 3.2% rise in sales during Sepember alone.
Research also suggests that extending Sunday shopping by two hours in London would create 3,000 jobs and extra income of £200m per year.
In his speech tomorrow, Osborne is expected to say: “Even two decades on from the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act, it is clear that there is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday. There is some evidence that transactions for Sunday shopping are actually growing faster than those for Saturday.
“The rise of online shopping, which people can do round the clock, also means more retailers want to be able to compete by opening for longer at the weekend. But this won’t be right for every area, so I want to devolve the power to make this decision to mayors and local authorities.”
The move is likely to face opposition from religious leaders, though all stores will continue to remain closed on Easter Day and Christmas Day.