Christmas Sunday garden centre opening backed by HTA

The Horticultural Trades Association has welcomed an effort by retailers to extend opening hours on Sunday 23 December.

Retailers including Marks & Spencer, Morrison, Asda and Selfridges hope for a relaxtion of Sunday opening hours from a six hour limit two days before Christmas to allow last minute shopping.

HTA marketing head Andrew Maxted said: "The garden retailer industry feels Sunday trading restrictions in England and Wales are unnecessary and causing confusion and difficulty for staff and customers alike. We recognise Christmas is a hugely important time for retailers and were the Government minded to relax hours on that Sunday it would be widely welcomed.

"But it’s dispiriting that whenever the Government looks at this it shies away from doing what so many people think is the right thing to do."

But a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills representative said the Governement has "no plans" to opening extend hours.

Meanwhile, the HTA’s Plan it Plant it autumn planting campaign has inspired the association to develop an umbrella spring PR promotion. Maxted said the new approach to PR would include promoting Garden Re-Leaf (March 8).

In a separate move the association is looking at alternative accommodation. "The offices at Theale are not really fit for purpose for a modern organisation and as such we are exploring other opportunities. We hope that this will still be in the Theale/Reading area," said director general Carol Paris.

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