Marks & Spencer has announced an unusual extension to its opening hours for the festive season.
The supermarket will keep around 400 shops open until midnight in the lead up to Christmas, giving customers time to shop when it’s convenient, and making it easier to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
When will stores open late?
The longer opening hours will apply to almost all of Marks & Spencer’s food-only branches, as well as some of its larger food and clothing stores.
The midnight closing hours will apply on 21, 22 and 23 December 2020. Any stores that don’t stay open until midnight during Christmas week will close at around 10pm.
Opening hours on Christmas Eve will be different to regular opening times, and the midnight hours will not apply, with stores to be open from 6am to 7pm. Stores will be closed on Christmas Day, and some stores will stay shut on Boxing Day.
To find the festive opening hours of your local store, use the store finder tool online.
‘Longest ever’ hours
The plan to keep stores open until midnight follows on from similar plans introduced last year, which saw 15 branches remain open until late. This year, these hours will apply to around 400 of the retailer’s 900 stores across the UK.
Sacha Berendji, M&S’s Retail, operations and property director said, “We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence this Christmas, which means supporting social distancing in our stores and minimal queueing outside as the weather gets colder.
“To help with this, we’ll be operating our longest ever opening hours just before Christmas.
“Along with the wider industry, we continue to ask for Sunday trading hours to be extended to help us increase our capacity to serve everyone safely this festive season.”
Competitor supermarket Aldi has also confirmed it will extend its opening hours until 11pm in the majority of its stores, from 21 to 23 December. Shops will close at 6pm on Christmas Eve, and will remain closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Similarly, Waitrose will keep its smaller supermarkets open until 11pm from 21 to 23 December, with larger branches closing at 10pm. Most stores will close at 6pm on Christmas Eve, and will stay shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.