HTA welcomes possibility of extended Sunday trading

The Horticultural Trades Association has welcomed a move towards extended Sunday trading hours.

Image: Horticulture Week
Image: Horticulture Week

Big supermarkets such as Asda and other major retailers have been in talks with the Government about relaxing Sunday trading laws after longer opening hours were allowed during the Olympics.

Retailers, trade bodies and the Government are thought to be discussing the impact of the temporary lifting of restrictions,with a view to a permanent change.

Retailers are only allowed to trade for six hours on a Sunday, between 10am and 6pm. But the Government passed emergency legislation to relax the law during the Olympics and the upcoming Paralympics.

The restrictions are designed to protect smaller, family-run stores from competition from supermarkets, by allowing shops of less than 3,000 sq ft to open for longer than six hours.

HTA marketing head Andrew Maxted said: "We know from our surveys of our retail members that the majority would welcome a relaxation of the Sunday Trading Act on a permanent basis. There’s nothing more frustrating than to be in a garden centre on a Sunday afternoon and to be told it is closing."

HTA surveys show one-third of member businesses - including bigger companies such as Garden Centre Group - took advantage of extended Olympic hours. Two-thirds of members say they would like a relaxation to be available for the peak spring season.

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