Retail news round-up on February 9, 2016: Local councils to be able to extend Sunday trading hours, easyFoodstore re-opens and January retail sales up 3.3%.

Local councils to have right to end Sunday trading restrictions

The Government is set to hand local councils the power to extend Sunday trading hours from this autumn, a move that is set to be welcomed by big retailers.

Local authorities will have the right to adjust hours seasonally for local traders as part of the changes, which will be introduced through amendments to the enterprise bill.

Councils will be allowed to limit the deregulation to specific “zones” such as city centres or high streets — at the expense of out-of-town retailers.

“Extending Sunday shopping hours has the potential to help businesses and high streets better compete as our shopping habits change,” said Anna Soubry, business minister.

January retail sales hits four-month high

Like-for-like retail sales surged 2.6% year-on-year last month, picking up pace unexpectedly, driven by demand for big-ticket items, in particular furniture.

Overall retail spending jumped 3.3% in January compared with a year earlier, after a ‘disappointing’ December, according to data published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

The improvement came as furniture and home appliances sold well.

New Year discounts boosted clothing and footwear sales, the BRC said.

"Following on from a somewhat disappointing Christmas period for retailers, the new year kicked off to a strong start," BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

EasyFoodstore re-opens after running out of stock

EasyJet founder’s new budget food store has re-opened its doors to shoppers after it ran out of stock just days after launching.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou-owned EasyFoodstore supermarket at London’s Park Royal has also hired bouncers to maintain order.

The discount grocery shop is selling basic food items for 25p each for the whole of February, after which the prices would shoot up to ‘around 50p’ per item.