Mike Coupe has publicly condemned plans to relax Sunday trading laws, stating that they are confusing and open to abuse.
The proposed plans would see larger stores open on Sundays beyond the six hours that they are currently permitted to trade.
Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, stated that there is no demand for change.
He said: “The industry is divided over whether there should be a change in the legislation, but one thing the industry is completely agreed on is that the current form of legislation is not a sensible way of going about it.”
The Government’s plan would be to hand over the power to extend opening hours to local authorities. Depending on local opinions, council officials would decide whether an area is suitable for longer opening hours. However, Mike Coupe pointed out that in towns where boundaries run along high streets, this could lead to stores on one side opening later on a Sunday, whilst stores on the other side remain closed.
He added: “The ideal would be the same rules applied everywhere. If it is going to be localised, there needs to be some guidelines enshrined in law, what a zone actually comprises. At the moment it could happen that you draw a line around an Asda store and that could open and nothing else can.”
It has been suggested that Sainsbury’s may be against the plans because they could lead to a fall in business at its convenience stores, which charge higher prices and can open longer providing they are smaller than 3,000 square feet.