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Marks and Spencer to close all Suffolk stores in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft on Boxing Day so staff can spend more time with loved ones



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Retailer Marks & Spencer has announced its stores won't be open on Boxing Day as it had originally planned, to allow its staff to 'enjoy more special time with their loved ones' during the festive season.

Bosses at M&S, which has stores in Suffolk in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft, changed their minds after the Government agreed to temporarily relax restrictions over the Christmas period last week.

The company had originally planned to open more than 200 of its stores the day after Christmas Day – Saturday, December 26.

Marks and Spencer in Bury St Edmunds
Marks and Spencer in Bury St Edmunds

But in a statement, CEO Steve Rowe said while it was a 'big decision' to close all of its owned M&S stores in the UK on Boxing Day, it was 'the right one' after the efforts of staff this year.

He 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.

Marks and Spencer in Ipswich. Picture: Google Maps
Marks and Spencer in Ipswich. Picture: Google Maps

"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.”

M&S stores will also be closed on Christmas Day, but in the run-up to the day, the retailer will be operating its longest ever trading hours, with around 400 of its owned stores open until midnight in the days prior to Christmas – from December 21 to 23 – to help manage capacity and give customers and staff more space.

That's compared to just 15 stores which were open until midnight last year.

Marks and Spencer in Lowestoft. Picture: Google Maps
Marks and Spencer in Lowestoft. Picture: Google Maps

A spokesman for M&S said, along with others in the retail sector, the company is also continuing to ask the Government to consider relaxing current Sunday trading restrictions during December to 'help ensure a safe and pleasant shopping environment for both colleagues and customers as they prepare for Christmas'.

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