M & S to open on Sundays

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Indy Politics
THE Keep Sunday Special campaign appeared to be waning yesterday as some of its high street backers were preparing to accept the change in the law and open on Sundays.

The store chain Marks and Spencer has abandoned active opposition to the Bill to allow Sunday trading, which was given its Second Reading in the Lords yesterday. Marks and Spencer said it was preparing to open shops in 20 'edge- of-town' sites and other areas, such as resort towns, once Sunday trading became law. Rumours that 100 of its 287 stores would open on Sundays were described as 'conjecture'.

John Lewis Partnership has also scaled down its campaign against Sunday trading and is preparing to open some stores on Sunday once the law changes. It supported the Keep Sunday Special campaign which was rejected by MPs when the Commons voted to allow shops to open for up to six hours on Sundays.

Marks and Spencer backed the campaign by the Retailers for Shops Act Reform, which wanted shops to be able to open on four Sundays before Christmas.

Marks and Spencer said the company had ceased its financial backing for the Retailers for Shops Act Reform campaign and withdrawn staff it seconded to the campaign. 'We are realists. We believe you have to accept the results of Parliament,' it said. Keep Sunday Special has also downgraded its campaign, dropping its professional lobbyists.

'We are not gloomy or downhearted. We are still fighting a vigorous campaign,' Keep Sunday Special said. But its campaign funds have been halved.

Among peers who are supporting its case are Baroness Young, former Tory leader of the Lords, Lord Graham, the Opposition chief whip in the Lords, and some of the bishops, including the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rev David Sheppard.

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