The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has warned that an overwhelming majority of the public do not want to see

a relaxing of the current Sunday Trading laws.

In a poll commissioned by the ACS, 76% of those asked said that they wanted the Sunday Trading laws to stay the same while of the 19% that wanted changes in the law, more than half advocated a complete end to Sunday opening. Of the total sample, only 5% wanted large shops and department stores to be open longer on Sundays.

According to the ACS, the key figures from the polling were:

• 76% of the public support existing laws
• 70% of those who oppose the current laws favour stronger restrictions on Sunday trading
• 5% wanted a relaxation of the trading laws; 89% of the total sample favour no change or further restrictions
• 85% of the total sample oppose the one off change for Boxing Day argued for by retail chains.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "Our polling shows that the large retail companies arguing for relaxation of Sunday trading laws are out of touch with the public. The overwhelming public opposition to relaxation of Sunday trading shows that the current law should be retained.

"Local shops benefit from the current restrictions because it supports a balance towards local shopping in small stores on a Sunday. This is a balance that customers are clearly happy with, and unsettling this would have a significant impact on the viability of local shops to trade not just on Sundays but throughout the year.

"The current law works, imposes no regulatory burdens on businesses, and is popular. Whoever is in Government after the General Election should maintain this important feature of the UK’s retailing environment."