Plans to give local authorities the power to change Sunday trading hours are a blow for independent shops, says the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, whose members supply and support about 72,000 retail businesses.

fwd-logoFWD chief executive James Bielby said the announcement expected in tomorrow’s Budget would take trade away from independent shops which serve local communities if larger stores were allowed to open longer on Sundays. “This is a baffling move by the Chancellor, one which was not mentioned anywhere during the election campaign,” he said. “There is no compelling evidence to suggest that sales will increase if larger shops are open longer, and even the supermarkets are unconvinced of the value of longer hours. Simply spreading consumer spend over a longer period adds cost to businesses with little extra benefit, but it punishes the smallest operators who have previously had this tiny advantage over the national chains.”

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