Retail bosses including Mark Price and Mike Greene had mixed reactions to the Government’s failed move to liberalise Sunday trading.
The Government’s attempt to reform Sunday trading laws, which would have allowed big shops to extend their hours, failed to pass through the House of Commons on Wednesday following a Tory rebellion.
“I think the move to extend Sunday trading hours was railroaded through by a few big voices on Knightsbridge and Oxford Street and was not actually in the interest of the majority of stores.
”Retailers I spoke to felt that even with the ability to opt out, extending Sunday trading hours would be pressure on employees as well as stretching out costs without providing much opportunity for growth.
“The only half credible argument for extending Sunday trading came from high tourism areas like London, Birmingham and Manchester. Otherwise there was very little need or demand.
“All in all it was an embarrassment for the Government and a battle they didn’t need to fight.” Mike Greene, chief executive and founder, My Local
“As people are aware, The Entertainer is not open on Sundays, and a ruling for longer trading hours would not have changed this.
Is there more money available if we open shops for longer hours? I’m not sure.
The point is, I think we need to put some family values before we put money, hence why The Entertainer will always keep its doors shut on Sundays.” Gary Grant, managing director and founder, The Entertainer
“It was an embarrassment for the Government and a battle they didn’t need to fight”
Mike Greene, My Local
“It falls to us to trade with whatever we have, and in this case it’s six hours on a Sunday. When we listen to customers, they do say they would like a few more hours because it makes their life easier.
“But the key thing is to make sure we serve our customers better each and every Sunday over the hours we are able to.
“Clearly where it leaves customers, though, is having to pay higher prices on a Sunday.” David Potts, chief executive, Morrisons
“I’m not disappointed by the result.
“We would have been happy to extend our business hours on Sunday if that had been in our interest.
”However, I’m not convinced longer hours would have resulted in increased business for retailers.” John Walden, chief executive, Home Retail Group
“When we listen to customers, they do say they would like a few more hours because it makes their life easier”
David Potts, Morrisons
“What we do is what the Government and people want. We’re neither excited nor disappointed [by the result], we just get on with the hand that we’ve been given.
“We’re trading very strongly on Sundays, growing by 6% or 7% so lots of people are finding us.
“What we’ll always do is compete within the laws as they’re set and we’ll always try to out-compete our competition.” Mark Price, managing director, Waitrose
“I know now Sundays are a popular shopping day but I’m happy that extended trading hours have not gone through – it would have just been six days of sales spread over seven days.
“Sunday’s a special day and I don’t want to have to ask our staff to work any longer.
”Customers have enough opportunity to do their shopping, I don’t think we’d take any more money and we’d just increase our cost.
“Shoppers can always pop to the corner shop if they need a pint of milk. Our village shop has its busiest day on Sunday and extending hours for bigger retailers would be another nail in their coffin.” Malcolm Walker, chief executive, Iceland