Primark wants to open its shops for 24 hours a day after lockdown

Christmas shopping in person has been put on hold in England, after non-essential shops were closed for a month due to the second national lockdown.

But when stores do reopen for business on the expected lockdown end date of 2 December, Primark is planning to keep its branches open for 24 hours a day.

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Managing the Christmas rush

Bosses at Primark are considering extending opening times to 24 hours a day at selected stores in December. The move is intended to help shoppers social distance during the busy Christmas period, giving them more time to do their festive shopping.

Chief executive George Weston told The Telegraph, “If we are able to trade in some stores up to 24 hours a day, then we can keep people more separate from each other more easily.

"We can keep the stores safer if everyone knows there are plenty of trading hours and they do not have to rush on a Sunday into a six-hour period."

Primark said closing for 12 weeks earlier this year during the first national lockdown had caused the business a loss of around £650 million worth of sales per month.

The popular retail chain is expected to be in high demand when it reopens in December, particularly with Christmas just a matter of weeks away. The extended opening hours are intended to help both manage the rush and boost sales following a difficult year of trading.

‘Safety will be paramount’

John Bason, chief of Primark owner Associated British Foods, confirmed that the retailer is planning longer opening hours and assured that stringent safety measures will be put in place to help manage demand.

When stores reopened after months of closures back in July, crowds of shoppers were seen lining the streets outside the doors of Primark sites across the UK. The retailer has now put plans in place to help manage busy queues and adapt accordingly to ensure its stores are Covid-secure.

Mr Bason said, “We are absolutely looking at longer opening hours.

"Safety will be paramount and our teams have worked very well to deal with demand and ensure queue management so will continue to work hard to adapt to demand ahead of Christmas.”

When the national lockdown ends on 2 December, it is expected that rules will revert back to the previous regional tier system.