Olympic trading relaxation stirs Easter Sunday rebellion

Garden Centre Group (GCG) chief executive Nicholas Marshall has labelled the Easter Sunday trading ban bizarre and suggested that some other centres might break the law to open.

But most garden retailers said they would benefit little from the Government's extension of Sunday trading on the eight weeks from 22 July for the Olympic Games.

Blackdown Garden Centre in Somerset will take the risk and open on Easter Sunday. A staff member said: "You can open either on Boxing Day or Easter Sunday and we chose Easter Sunday."

Coolings managing director Gary Carvosso said: "We can open on Easter Sunday because we produce the majority of our own plants. But we only take two-thirds of Easter Saturday sales."

HTA marketing director Andrew Maxted said: "The fact that the Government is listening to arguments for relaxation to Sunday trading laws is welcome, although the changes for the Olympic Games come too late in the season to bring significant benefit to garden centres."

Sanders Garden World manager Peter Burks said extended Sunday hours could cost more in staffing than they brought in. On Easter Sunday, he said: "We're opening the restaurant for garden club members. But I've heard that people are considering doing other things."

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