Amendments have been made to the Enterprise Bill allowing local authorities to extend Sunday opening hours.
High street retailers will now be able to seasonally adjust their opening hours to enable them to better compete for trade with internet retailers.
In December 2015, online retailers accounted for 13.8% of all retail spending.
It is hoped that the extension will mean that high street retailers can increase their trade through capitalising on tourism opportunities. Examples of the potential benefits of this are those currently enjoyed by EU countries that have already extended their Sunday trading hours, such as Sweden where turnover has increased 5%.
The changes are part of new measures to delegate Sunday trading laws to local authorities to put a renewed focus on high streets and city centres.
The measures also allow workers to ‘opt-out’ of working Sundays, allowing them to give a months’ notice to retailers if they no longer want to work Sundays.
Business Minister Anna Soubry said:
“Extending Sunday shopping hours has the potential to help businesses and high streets better compete as our shopping habits change.
“The rights of shop workers are key to making these changes work in everyone’s interests. We are protecting those who do not wish to work Sundays, and those who do not want to work more than their normal Sunday working hours.”