High street stores will be able to extend their opening hours in the run-up to Christmas.
Primark recently announced that some of their stores will open for 24 hours post-lockdown, and it looks like other shops will soon follow in their footsteps. In a government attempt to boost England’s economy as we enter the new tiered system, high street shops and supermarkets have been given the option to open round the clock. Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said “With these changes local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport.”
He also expressed that shops should be able to determine their own opening hours throughout December and January, and even be able to run 24/7 services. The idea is that this will help stores make up for lost sales during lockdown and “free our small businesses people to get on with earning a living.” Two birds, one stone essentially.
“How long will be a matter of choice for the shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council, but I suggest we offer these hard pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season. Therefore as Local Government Secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond if they wish.”
As it stands, retailers wanting to extend their hours must apply for permission from councils – which can take weeks. Jenrick is suspending this process with the aim of helping business owners get back on their feet. John Lewis, Next, M&S and Waitrose have already confirmed that some of their stores will be opening till late in the lead up to Christmas. Prepare to shop till you drop.