A leading independent retailer has made an impassioned plea to prime minister Boris Johnson to scrap plans to suspend Sunday trading laws to kick start the economy amid the coronavirus crisis.
In a video message, Stuart Reddish, the owner of Baxters convenience store and post office in Sheffield and the national president of the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) which represents 11,500 retailers in the UK and Ireland, told the prime minister: “If you value us don’t give Sundays to the supermarkets.”
Speaking from his store, Reddish explained how the current Sunday trading regulations had worked well, giving independent retailers a “key advantage” over their multiple rivals.
“People want their local stores to thrive, not to be overwhelmed by the supermarkets,” he added.
The video message reminded Johnson that independent retailers were at the heart of their communities and offered customers essential services. It added that throughout the coronavirus pandemic, people had turned to their local stores and it was important for the government to support them and their communities.
Allowing supermarkets to open for longer than the allotted six hours “would not increase business”, Reddish said. “It will just move it around, costing jobs, threatening businesses and damaging the high street.”
The prime minister was also reminded that a Populus survey showed that 58& of the general public was in favour of Sunday trading laws.
“They have worked well for many years. We are very concerned about your intention to change these laws.”
According to a leaked government report, the laws which were introduced in 1994, could be suspended for up to a year, enabling supermarkets to be open for more than six hours on a Sunday.