Monday, March 12, 2012

Major city store starts New Year sales on Boxing Day

MAJOR department store Debenhams, in Broadmead, plans to open onBoxing Day.

And now 20 other shops in Bristol city centre will follow suit.

Debenhams stores across the country will start their sales onDecember 26. Opening times have yet to be announced.

After the announcement from Debenhams the Broadmead Board askedall its stores whether they too wanted to open on Boxing Day.

The majority said no, but 20 other stores have now decided toopen. Last year only a handful did so, including Virgin and Dixons.

Debenhams head of communication, Joanna George, said: "We've beenspeaking to customers investigating how they shop over Christmas.

"Due to customer feedback, Debenhams stores will open on BoxingDay as a trial. If it doesn't work, we won't do it again.

"Staff will be given the option of working on Boxing Day, we'requite flexible, and will be talking to staff about what would bestsuit their needs."

Broadmead manager John Hirst said: "Debenhams wants it, customerswant it and I'm sure staff will be well-rewarded.

"Debenhams has taken the decision nationally and I'm going to workwith them to facilitate it in Broadmead. That means making sure thereis enough car parking, for example.

"I'm sure it's going to be busy and I think other stores will seethis. On Boxing Day 2004 half of Broadmead will be opening.

"There used to be a lot of opposition to Sunday trading but that'snow considered perfectly normal. I think Boxing Day opening will gothe same way.

"Nobody should be forced to work on Boxing Day but I'm sure plentyof students and young people will think it's a great idea if theyget treble pay."

The decision by Debenhams to open on Boxing Day has beencriticised by some union leaders.

Allan Gray, senior regional industrial organiser with theTransport & General Workers Union, said: "I think this is managementtaking a liberty.

"Staff want quality time off, not to be asking their relatives andfriends to set the alarm clock during their short stay because theyhave to get up on Boxing Day morning to go to work.

"We are already the hardestworking country in relation to timeoff. This is like a turkey voting for Christmas with this type ofmanagement action the festive period is being stuffed."

A spokesman for the Union of Shop and Distributive Workers said:"In the run up to Christmas retail workers work exceptionally hardand we accept this is the retail trade's busiest period.

"But once Christmas Day arrives we believe these hard workersshould have as long a break to celebrate with their families andfriends as possible."

The Mall will be opening from 9am to 5pm on Saturday December 27for the first day of the sales.

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