Marks and Spencer has announced that it will now close its stores on Boxing Day, having previously said it will keep 200 of its stores open.
Following the Government’s announcement that restrictions will be temporarily relaxed for a five-day period from the 23-27 December, M&S added it it took the decision to 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 across both the 25 and 26 December”.
CEO Steve Rowe 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.”
He added: “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.
“This is a big decision, but it is absolutely the right one given the incredible effort everyone has made in the most challenging of circumstances.”
Last week, Marks and Spencer revealed it was to keep its stores open until midnight over the Christmas period to ensure shoppers and staff can upkeep a safe level of social distancing.
It added that the new measures 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.