M&S aims to counter lockdown slump, will stay open until midnight
In a bid to make the most of final Christmas week trading, Marks & Spencer will extend opening hours to midnight for 400 of its UK stores. The retail giant is also calling for Sunday trading hours to be extended in December.
The retailer’s “longest ever opening hours” will take effect for three days from 21-23 December for around two-thirds of its stores. They will include combined clothing and food stores as well as all food-only stores, except those linked to travel locations.
Although it said the measures will allow shoppers and staff “the time and space needed to social distance”, the move is also seen as a much-needed boost as high street retailers try to squeeze out more sales to recoup billions lost during the lockdown restrictions.
The move isn’t unique for the retailer as M&S allowed 15 flagship stores to remain open until midnight last year. Stores on high streets and in shopping centres will be generally open until 10pm, M&S said.
M&S retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji 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.”
The call for extended Sunday trading “will help us increase our capacity to serve everyone safely this festive season”, he added.
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