Logistics firms have welcomed the proposal to extend Sunday trading hours for large retailers as a natural progression of the existing trend that has seen consumers demand more flexible deliveries.
The chancellor announced in his Summer Budget last week that a consultation would be launched into enabling larger shops to open for longer than the current six-hour period they are permitted to between 10.00am and 18.00pm with an aim to boost jobs and the economy.
Decisions to extend hours will be devolved to a local level, rather than being imposed nationally.
Pallet network Pall-Ex said the move to longer Sunday trading was “evolution, not revolution”.
Adrian Russell, group deputy chairman, Pall-Ex Group, added: “The transport and logistics sector has been busy supporting and enabling retailers’ Sunday trade for years. Trading throughout the week has been a feature of our economy for decades, and the advance of e-commerce has only increased customer demand even further.”
He said the biggest challenge, and opportunity, to the supply chain network came from the surge in online shopping.
“We’ve seen home delivery figures rocket over the past ten years, and hauliers and pallet networks up and down the country have had to adjust to this trend,” he said.
Allowing retailers to keep their doors open for longer will enable the UK’s high streets to compete with around-the-clock online stores, added Russell.
“We’d expect to see an increase in shopper footfall, and rising demand for everyone who works in the supply chain network to accommodate these increased hours of trade,” he said.
Miniclipper Logistics, based in Leighton Buzzard, said longer Sunday retail hours would not prove a challenge for its operation.
“I don’t think that extended Sunday hours will make any difference with regard the general pallet network traffic, however it may well be different for the food haulage sector,” said MD Peter Masters.
“However, it would appear that Sunday and evening deliveries will become more prevalent in the future and companies such as ours need to gear up for offering delivery solutions outside the normal 9 to 5, Monday to Saturday morning trading profile.”
He added that Miniclipper had recently experienced an uplift in Sunday activity in its specialist direct transport operation, which comprises two-man deliveries and moffet operations.