It’s official: in England, shops can open daily for 24 hours a day, from Monday to Saturday, this December. This is great news for retailers and shoppers alike. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening, and where you can take advantage of the longer opening hours.
Why can shops open 24 hours?
Unsurprisingly, it’s all down to the coronavirus pandemic. Over 11,000 stores have already closed their doors due to lower customer demand and more people shopping online. And, unfortunately, the casualties keep on coming.
- Bonmarché entered administration on 2 December, risking 1,500 jobs.
- The Arcadia Group collapse puts 13,000 jobs at serious risk.
- With Debenhams set to close, that’s another 12,000 jobs at risk.
The UK government hopes that longer trading hours will encourage people to hit the high street and shop safely without increasing the spread of coronavirus.
When can I start shopping?
England’s national lockdown ended on Wednesday 2 December 2020, so non-essential shops are open again. If shops in your local area choose to open 24 hours, you can start shopping whenever you’re ready!
Which shops are open 24 hours?
Okay, now for the best part: which shops are actually opening 24 hours? So far, both Primark and Tesco have announced that they’re opening 24 hours, but there’s no reason more shops won’t join the list.
If you’re near any of these 11 Primark branches, you can shop 24 hours this Christmas:
- White City
- Birmingham Fort
- Gateshead Metrocentre
- York Monks Cross
- Leeds White Rose
From 14 December until Christmas, around 300 Tesco branches in England are opening 24 hours. Since it’s not every Tesco branch, you should check local opening hours before you travel.
Have other shops extended their opening hours?
Yes. Although not everyone’s opening 24 hours, many shops are taking advantage of the relaxed rules. Here’s where you can shop a little longer this year.
Most Aldi stores are open until 11PM from 21 December until 23 December, but check online before you go shopping.
Marks & Spencer
On 21, 22 and 23 December, around 400 Marks and Spencer branches are open until midnight.
You can check online to see if your local M&S is included.
Disappointed that your local Primark isn’t open 24 hours? Don’t worry. Branches in shopping centres are open until 10pm on weekdays, and high street branches are open until at least 8pm. Check your local store opening hours for details.
Need some last-minute Christmas shopping? Sainsbury’s has you covered. Between 21 and 23 December, most Sainsbury’s branches will be open from 6am until midnight. Just check your local opening hours before you travel.
Tesco is opening its remaining branches an hour early, so you can shop from 5am.
When should I go shopping?
Good question. Essentially, it’s a personal choice, but there’s a good chance shops will be quieter at night or very early in the morning. So if you’re worried about crowds and you’re trying to avoid peak trading hours, late night shopping is a good idea. It’s great if you’re a shift worker, too.
All that said, shops are still expected to follow Covid-19 guidelines, so there are still social distancing and safety measures in place whenever you shop.
Now that shops can open 24 hours until Christmas, it’s far easier to get your shopping done. The best part? You’re supporting your local shops, too.
But remember, if you’re not keen on hitting the shops this Christmas, you can shop online instead.
One final tip: if you plan on shopping at stores like John Lewis and M&S this Christmas, why not check out the reward credit cards on offer before you go? Depending on the card, you can earn perks including cash back and points to spend in store, so they could help you with the Christmas shop.
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