Marks and Spencer has reversed a decision to open its stores on Boxing Day and decided to give staff the day off instead.

Staff at Basingstoke M&S in Festival Place and M&S Simply Food at Chineham will now be able to relax and enjoy the Bank Holiday at home. 

The high street retailer Marks & Spencer said it had originally planned to open more than 200 stores on December 26 following a relaxation of shopping rules over the Christmas period.

But bosses said they wanted workers to enjoy the day with friends and family and follows a similar move earlier in the week by Pets at Home.

Home Bargains and Wickes have also recently made the decision to give staff more time off at Christmas.

Basingstoke Gazette: M&S Simply Food in Chineham M&S Simply Food in Chineham

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "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.

"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."

In addition to the closure of owned stores - which excludes franchises in some train stations, hospitals and motorway services - the company's contact centre and distribution centre in Castle Donington will also shut.

Last week, M&S announced it is operating its longest ever trading hours this Christmas, with around 400 of its owned stores open until midnight between December 21 and 23 – compared with just 15 stores operating until midnight last year.