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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006, 02:30 GMT
Sunday opening hours under review
Shoppers
Consumers have been asked about extended Sunday openings
Consumers, businesses and religious groups are to be asked for their views on extending Sunday trading.

The Department of Trade and Industry wants to find out if extending opening beyond the current six hours for larger stores is wanted in England and Wales.

The move is part of the government's review of the Sunday Trading Act 1994 which currently limits opening hours.

The DTI said a review is needed as the law has not changed in more than a decade, but expectations have.

An independent analysis of cost benefits to the economy has been commissioned by Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson to see what the impact of any change in hours would have.

Flexibility

A DTI spokesman said "Consumers now have greater expectations.

"Many more people are in employment, often benefiting from flexible working outside core nine-to-five weekday hours. We are a more multi-cultural society.

"There is a greater recognition that we should only regulate where it is necessary to do so," he added.

Under the current law, large shops over 280 square metres may only open for six continual hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays, excluding Easter Sunday.

'Devastating impact'

Results of the economic analysis will be published in spring, while comments must be submitted to the DTI by mid-April.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive David Rae said: "There is no appetite for changing the law on Sunday trading from the public or from the MPs who will ultimately decide on this issue.

"We also know that changing the Act would have a devastating impact on retailers.

"More than ever before, retailers need to make sure their voice is heard."


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