High street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to open at midnight on Christmas Eve morning ahead of one of the busiest shopping days of the year, it has been announced today.
While December 23rd is traditionally the busiest day for food shopping in the retailer’s calendar, the Christmas rush is expected to spread over two days to compensate for Sunday’s reduced trading hours.
A total of 103 stores across the UK will operate early bird opening hours, 49 of which will be full offer stores while 54 Simply Food stores will open.
Last year, M&S launched a ‘food to order’ click & collect service allowing customers to search for foodhall favourites ahead of the festive rush and today’s announcement means shoppers can nominate early morning time slots anytime after midnight to pick up orders.
Sacha Berendji, Director of Retail at M&S, said: “We know that the days leading up to Christmas are some of the most hectic for our customers.
“Due to Sunday trading rules, we can only open for six hours on one of the busiest days of the year.
“We hope that these early bird hours on Monday will ease the pressure and give busy shoppers a bit more time to pick up Christmas food orders or last minute presents.”
A month ago, M&S revealed that pre-tax profit had fallen 10 per cent in its first half while UK like-for-like sales fell 1.4 per cent, knocked by a weakness in its clothing offer.
Analysts noted at the time that the retailer needed to strengthen its clothing offer to align it with the success of its food arm and M&S has also today announced a clothing campaign as part of its Plan A initiative.
Earlier this year, the retailer unveiled its ‘shwopping’ campaign which involves ‘buy one’ and ‘give one’ so that shoppers can pass on used clothes in the hopes of putting an end to unwanted clothing and today it has revealed plans for a ‘shwop at work’ service.
Offering a dedicated service for businesses nationwide, M&S will place clothes recycling boxes in offices for a one day eco drive before Oxfam, M&S’ shwopping partner, collects and re-sells the garments to raise money for its poverty alleviation work around the world.
Adam Elman, Head of Plan A Delivery at M&S, said: “We’re passionate about giving used clothes a future.
“There’s no excuse for sending textiles to landfill and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to make it easy for people to recycle with Oxfam.
“We’ve spoken at length with our customers - on Facebook, in focus groups and day-to-day in stores - and they want us to make shwopping as easy as possible, and that’s why we’re bringing it to offices and workplaces.
“For companies, it a great way to engage with employees and improve your sustainability credentials.”