// M&S to close all of its UK stores on Boxing Day
// The retailer previously planned to open over 200 stores on the day
// Last week, the retailer announced it is operating its longest ever trading hours this Christmas
Marks & Spencer has decided to close stores on Boxing Day, having previously planned to open over 200 stores on the day.
The decision came after the government’s announcement this week to temporarily relax restrictions over the Christmas period.
M&S will now close all of its owned stores in the UK, as well as its Customer Contact centre and its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington.
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This is so that as many colleagues as possible can spend time with family and friends across both December 25 and 26.
“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,” M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said.
“2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever.
“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, the retailer announced it is operating its longest ever trading hours this Christmas, with around 400 of its owned stores open until midnight from December 21 to 23.
This compares to just 15 stores operating until midnight last year.
Ahead of Christmas, M&S has put in place a number of new initiatives to help its customers “shop with confidence”.
M&S has also asked the government to consider the relaxation of current Sunday trading restrictions in December in an effort to ensure a safe shopping environment as it prepares for Christmas.