M&S says it has reversed its decision to open its stores on Boxing Day, so that workers can spend time with their families.
The announcement follow’s the agreement from the UK and devolved government this week to temporarily relax restrictions over the Christmas period. The retailer had previously planned to open over 200 of its stores on 26 December.
M&S has now confirmed it will close all of its owned stores in the UK, as well as its customer contact centre and its distribution centre in Castle Donington, so that as many colleagues as possible can spend time with family and friends on 25 and 26 December.
Steve Rowe, CEO at M&S said: “Throughout the pandemic, our colleagues have gone above and beyond to deliver for our customers and as we enter the busy festive season they are doubling down on their efforts once again to help our customers deliver the Christmas magic for their families and friends.
“2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have will be more precious than ever. That’s why in the run up to Christmas we are opening longer hours and have accelerated the launch of new digital services such as Sparks Book & Shop to help our customers prepare, but it’s also why we have taken the decision to close our operations on Boxing Day, so that our colleagues can enjoy more special time with their loved ones.”
Ahead of Christmas, M&S said it has put in a number of initiatives to help its customers ‘shop with confidence’ – including its new Sparks Book & Shop service, allowing customers to reserve a shopping slot at time that suits them and the accelerated rollout of its check-out free Mobile Pay Go to all UK stores.
Last week, the retailer announced operating its longest ever trading hours, with around 400 of its owned stores open until midnight in the days prior to Christmas – from December 21 to 23 – to help manage capacity. This compares to just 15 stores operating until midnight last year.
Along with the wider retail sector, M&S continues to ask the government to consider the relaxation of current Sunday trading restrictions in December to help ensure “a safe and pleasant shopping environment for both colleagues and customers” as they prepare for Christmas.