M&S reverses plan to open Boxing Day this year so staff can be with families

Marks and Spencer has reversed its decision to open hundreds of stars on Boxing Day.

The day after Christmas is traditionally a bumper day for retail as shoppers flock to scout bargains in the sales.

Bosses had previously planned to open 200 stores open across the UK.

But the decision to relax Coronavirus restrictions over the festive period has led to a rethink, The Mirror reported.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said the high-street favourite would be encouraging staff to spend more time with their families instead.

Mr 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."

As well as stores being closed, M&S is shutting its Customer Contact centre and its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington, Leicestershire.

Rowe added: "2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever."

Last week the retailer said about 400 stores would be open until midnight in the days leading up to Christmas between December 21 and 23.

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"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," Mr Rowe added.

"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."

There are around 600 Marks and Spencer outlets in the UK.

Other chains that have con confirmed they will be closing on Boxing Day include Pets at Home, Home Bargains and Aldi.

Along with the wider retail sector, M&S has campaigned for the government to relax the current Sunday trading restrictions in December.

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