Following this week’s agreement from the UK and devolved Government to temporarily relax restrictions over the Christmas period, M&S has decided to close its operations on Boxing Day, having previously planned to open over 200 of its stores on the 26th December this year.
Steve Rowe, CEO at M&S 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.
“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.”
This Boxing Day (26th December), 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 – so that as many colleagues as possible can spend time with family and friends across both the 25th and 26th December.
Ahead of Christmas, M&S has put in a number of new initiatives to help its customers shop with confidence – including its new Sparks Book & Shop service allowing customers to reserve a shopping slot at time that suits them and the accelerated rollout of its check-out free Mobile Pay Go to all UK stores. Last week, the retailer announced operating its longest ever trading hours, with around 400 of its owned stores open until midnight in the days prior to Christmas – from December 21st to 23rd – to help manage capacity and give customers and colleagues the space they need. This compares to just 15 stores operating until midnight last year.
Along with the wider retail sector, M&S continues to ask the government to consider the relaxation of current Sunday trading restrictions in December to help ensure a safe and pleasant shopping environment for both colleagues and customers as they prepare for Christmas.
Notes to editors
The M&S store finder tool will be updated imminently to reflect the changes to trading hours.
About Sparks Book & Shop
- Sparks Book & Shop allows customers to use M&S’s website to book a guaranteed slot to shop at their local M&S store – removing the need to queue when they arrive (should there be one).
- Start times are allocated in 30-minute intervals and on arrival, customers (one person per household) simply check-in with the friendly hosts at the entrance of their local store.
- The service has already facilitated over 175,000 slots for customers.
About Mobile Pay Go
- Mobile Pay Go allows customers to scan their items as they shop using their smartphone, pay for them using a pre-saved card or Apple pay, and leave the store without visiting a checkout.
- The service is housed within the M&S app, alongside Sparks and is live at all 573 UK M&S stores.
- To see how easy it is to use Mobile Pay Go, watch this tutorial video