The Government has succeeded in suspending Sunday trading laws ahead of the start of the Olympic Games on Friday, reports the BBC.
Earlier in the year there was some concern that the Coalition had left it too late to make amendments to the law, which restricts retail outlets larger than 280m2 from opening for more than six hours on any given Sunday.
It was thought that the failure to implement a change in the law could strike a major blow to the organisation of the Games, as large souvenir and merchandise stores would need to shut on the three Sundays during the Games.
It was reported at Easter that the Government was intending to rush through legislation; the move has been confirmed this week.
The Government claims that the additional few hours of trading on Sundays will allow retailers to maximise revenues during the Games; however, smaller independent retailers who can already stay open longer on Sundays claim that the law change will simply divert customers from their shops to the larger supermarkets.
Shop workers will retain the right to refuse to work on a Sunday if they wish.
The law change will be seen at London's Westfield shopping centres, which will open at 11am on Sundays and will not close until 9pm. However, not all retailers will extend their hours significantly, with most deciding to simply open an hour or two earlier or later.
Shop workers' union USDAW believe that the law change could set a precedent for further erosion of the Sunday trading restrictions.
"USDAW remains vehemently opposed to the deregulation of Sunday trading and we expect the Government to abide by its commitment that this summer's temporary suspension will not lead to any further attempts to extend Sunday opening hours," they said in a statement.
The move is controversial as some believe that it will not boost sales and will simply mean that stores have to stay open longer to compete, increasing overhead costs.
Business Minister Norman Lamb was quick to defend the move, saying that it does not signal an attempt to introduce a permanent relaxation of the rules.
"I want to make it clear that this is a temporary measure and not a test case for a permanent relaxation of the rules in the future."