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Islington’s traders fear Sunday opening hours plans will hit business

06:32 11 September 2012

Moonlight Supermarket, Holloway Road

Moonlight Supermarket, Holloway Road

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Convenience store owners have expressed concern over potential proposals allowing supermarkets to extend Sunday opening hours.

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The owners of a number of independent shops in the borough claim that a loss in business has been seen since trading hours were relaxed temporarily for the Olympics and Paralympics to accommodate extra visitors and tourists.

Many fear that their businesses will collapse should there be a permanent end to Sunday trading restrictions, something the government is thought to be considering following calls from the Institute of Directors.

Mizrap Eren, director of Moonlight Supermarket in Holloway Road, Holloway, has found he is competing for late Sunday trade with Tesco Express, which is a few minutes down the road.

He said: “If they open for longer on Sundays, we will have to pack up and close the shop. It has been very quiet after 5pm on Sundays, but normally business is better.”

The 38 year-old added: “We have a bakery here but all the bread was left over on Monday which hasn’t happened before.

“We couldn’t sell it. It would be very hard to survive if this was permanent.”

Emrah Kati, 24, of Brothers Mini Market, in Holloway Road, said: “In the past few weeks Sundays have been their worst ever.

“A lot of shops like us on this road are struggling.”

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, said: “Local stores are a vital part of the community and to lose them as a consequence of a change in law would be catastrophic and have a significant impact on the local area.

“I believe there should be a day where people are not under the same pressure to work long hours and I think Sunday should be respected as such a day.

“If major stores are able to open for longer hours, then it will be banks next and then many employers will see it as a potential to expect workers to be available that day.”

He was backed by the Rev Simon Harvey, of St Mary’s Church, Islington, who said: “I think there’s no need to relax the rules further. Keeping one shared special day of the week is good for all of us.

“As a Christian, it helps me remember that God wants us to relax and rest.”

The relaxed trading hours period is scheduled to end this Sunday.

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