Since the 1950s, CGIL's union of shop and commercial workers (FILCAMS) - in accordance with the Italian Communist Party (PCI) - had been opposing large-scale retail trade, siding with small retailers. Economic policy, political tact, and mistrust towards emerging consumerism are the reasons behind this choice. This strategy opened a gap between FILCAMS and planning efforts of centre-left governments, culminating in the approval of Law no. 426/1971, which slowed down the development of large-scale retail trade in Italy. FILCAMS changed its standpoint at the end of the 1970s, in the context of a radical transformation concerning the whole labour movement. The trade union realised the potentialities of large-scale retail trade in creating new jobs and in offering less heavy working time arrangements and longer opening hours for consumers. A further reason for this policy change is to be found in the circumstance that an important role in the actual growth of large-scale retail trade was played by the cooperative movement.