High street giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) is extending opening hours and its delivery service to try and make the most of the festive period trading boost, it was revealed today.
This Christmas period is set to prove crucial for UK retailers with sales having been slow for many months across the sector, and the food, fashion and homewares specialist is set to keep more stores than ever open over the next week in order to capitalise on the expected easing on consumer constraint.
Shoppers using the M&S website will now be able to order clothing, homeware, gifting, beauty and entertainment items up until noon tomorrow (Wednesday December 21st 2011) and still be guaranteed delivery before Christmas Day, the retailer claims.
During this week 242 of the company’s nationwide stores with be open until 22:00 GMT or later, and a further 23 of its outlets will open until midnight in order to boost sales.
Steve Rowe, Director of Retail at M&S, said: “We know that Christmas can be a hectic time for our customers, so we’re aiming make things as stress-free as possible with longer opening hours and flexible ordering options.
“Our convenient Shop Your Way service a multichannel offering makes it easier than ever to make Christmas a special time for our customers.”
Sales volumes remained weak in the build-up to Christmas this year, with British Retail Consortium & KPMG figures showing that like-for-like retail sales were down 1.6 per cent in November compared to the same month last year, and so most retailers are hoping for a last minute splurge before December 25th.
M&S is also hoping to entice shoppers in store right through the holiday period, with 135 of its shops within BP Connect petrol stations remaining open on Christmas Day – most will be open for 24 hours.
On Boxing Day, 98 of its mainline stores will be open as will 31 of its M&S Outlet stores and 43 M&S Simply Food branches in airports, motorway services and railway stations, with the remainder of its shops re-opening the following day.