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M&S to keep stores open until midnight

Marks and Spencers has announced it is keeping its stores open until midnight over the Christmas period to ensure shoppers and staff can upkeep a safe level of social distancing. 

These new measures will apply to 400 of the brand’s stores, except those in travel locations, such as airports and some retail parks. 

This is not the first time M&S has extended its opening hours in December. Last year, the retailer kept 15 of its sites across the UK open until 12am. This time, however, almost two thirds of the brand’s stores will receive the extension. 

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In a newly-released statement, M&S also called for Sunday trading hours to be extended during the holiday season to allow the store to “increase its capacity to serve everyone safely.”

Sacha Berendji, the company’s retail, operations and property director, said: “We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence this Christmas, which means supporting social distancing in our stores and minimal queuing outside as the weather gets colder.”

It comes as the brand reported its first ever pre tax loss of £87.6m earlier this month, as Covid-19 lockdowns across the UK damaged the group’s ability to trade as usual. 

In August the brand also revealed plans to cut 7,000  job roles across its stores over the autumn period. 

At the time the retailer said the redundancies were an “important step” in ensuring the brand emerged from the covid-19 crisis with a “lower cost base and a stronger more resilient business”.

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