The Midcounties Co-operative is calling on MPs to consider the views of constituents before voting on proposals to extend Sunday opening hours for larger retailers.
The current legislation prevents large supermarkets from opening for more than six hours on Sundays. However, the government is considering devolving regulation of Sunday trading to councils and mayors.
The Midcounties Co-operative carried out a survey to consult its members about the potential changes. Of the 400 members taking part in the survey, 59% said they believed the current trading laws should remain unchanged for stores covering more than 3,000 sq ft. Only 13% of respondents felt that the proposals would have a positive impact, with the majority expressing concerns that smaller retailers could be disadvantaged as a result of relaxed legislation for larger competitors.
Furthermore, 53% of those surveyed believed that extending opening hours would have a negative effect on their community. Another 28% said that local authorities should oversee any changes of legislation.
The largest independent co-operative society in the UK, the Midcounties Co-operative is writing to local MPs to ensure the views of its membership are being heard.
Andy Cresswell, deputy chief executive of the Midcounties Co-operative, welcomed the survey’s findings. He said: “As a co-operative, everything we do is shaped by the views of our members, and these findings have provided a clear indication of the public’s response to the proposed change of Sunday trading laws. We are sharing the results of this in-depth survey with local MPs in an effort to reach a solution that places the needs of communities at its heart.”
The society operates over 500 sites throughout the UK, ranging from convenience stores to large supermarket formats.