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Shops open all night to ease Christmas chaos on Sunday (the busiest day of the year)
01:26 GMT, 21 December 2012
Supermarkets are trading around the clock in a bid to avoid a chaotic crush on Sunday – December 23, the day before Christmas Eve.
The date is normally the busiest day of the year as families stock up for the holiday, but Sunday trading laws will restrict large outlets to just six hours opening.
Stores fear that the result will be chaos as families try to cram their shopping into a far shorter amount of time.
Busy: The day before Christmas Eve is normally the busiest day of the year as families stock up for the holiday
In a bid to counter the threat, retailers and shopping centres have extended opening hours in the time left before Christmas Day apart from Sunday.
Hundreds of Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s stores are trading around the clock.
Many will stay open full-time until midnight on Saturday.
Marks & Spencer will open more than 60 outlets from midnight on the morning of Christmas Eve for the first time, while hundreds of other supermarkets will do the same.
Waitrose is opening most stores until 10pm and some until 11pm.
Chains including Morrisons and Asda
had called for a temporary lifting of Sunday restrictions to ease the
crush, but the Government has refused.
Business minister Michael Fallon
yesterday insisted that there are no plans currently to review the law,
even though the Government did remove Sunday trading restrictions for
the eight-week period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
M&S managing director Mark Price is among the retail industry bosses who wanted extra trading hours over the coming weekend.
In a bid to counter the threat of having to open for just six hours on Sunday, retailers and shopping centres have extended opening hours in the time left before Christmas Day
‘Sunday is going to be a real challenge for our customers,’ he said.
‘December 23 is always the busiest day. Last year we had 14 hours to serve our customers and this year we have six.
‘Relaxing the rules would be very helpful for our customers.’
Mr Price backed the idea of a permanent change to trading restrictions to allow big stores to open for longer on the Sunday before Christmas.
‘I think two or three extra hours on that day would make things a lot better,’ he said.
Mr Fallon said: ‘The Government has no further plans for a relaxation of the regulations.’
There was bad news for retailers yesterday as official figures published by the Office for National Statistics confirmed a gloomy start to the festive period.
The volume of items going through tills in November was unchanged from October, while the figure was up just 0.9per cent on the same month last year.
This was below City expectations but in line with a report by the British Retail Consortium which showed a drop in shopper numbers in recent weeks compared to last year.
While some retailers are benefiting from a big increase in online sales, they are being forced to offer a host of sales and promotions in order to tempt buyers.
…BUT DOCTORS SAY DON'T EAT TOO MANY
Doctors have warned of the health risks of Brussels sprouts after a man was hospitalised when his blood started clotting because he had eaten too many.
The man, from Ayrshire, had been prescribed anticoagulants for heart failure. But he didn’t know sprouts contain vitamin K, which promotes clotting but counteracts the effects of the blood-thinning medication.
Cardiologist Dr Roy Gardner said: ‘Patients who are taking anticoagulants are generally advised not to eat too many green leafy vegetables.’