M&S received huge amounts of praise on Thursday after it revealed it will be closing all of its stores on Boxing Day so staff "can enjoy more special time with their loved ones".
The high street retailer had previously planned to open 200 stores to shoppers the day after Christmas, but after news that restrictions would be relaxed over the festive period, M&S had a change of heart.
As well as stores being closed, M&S is shutting its Customer Contact centre and its Distribution Centre in Castle Donington.
Sharing the news on Twitter, M&S said: "This year’s Christmas celebrations will be more precious than ever. That’s why we've decided to close our stores & operations on Boxing Day, so our colleagues can enjoy more special time with their loved ones."
Fans soon flocked to social media to praise the chain, with one writing on Twitter: "What a lovely thing to do." Another said: "Well done @MarksAndSpencer letting everyone spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day with their family and friends."
Chief executive Steve Rowe said of the decision: "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."
He added: “2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever."
A couple of days off will no doubt be welcomed news for many of its staff, after M&S revealed plans to operate its longest ever trading hours - with around 400 stores open until midnight in the days prior to Christmas - from December 21st to 23rd.
Steve added: "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.
"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."
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