Boxing Day 2020 retailers

Independent retailers are looking to capitalise on new trading opportunities on Boxing Day, following the decision by some major supermarkets to close.

Last week, Asda announced it would be closing its doors from 7pm on Christmas Eve until 27 December to allow staff to spend time with friends and family.

Chief executive and president Roger Burnley shared the news with staff via email and on his Instagram account. “This has been a challenging year and you have all done an incredible job, continuing to serve our customers and communities while juggling so many other commitments,” he said. [link to video]

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Asda joins other grocery outlets including Marks & Spencer, Aldi, B&M and Waitrose, who have also taken the decision to remain closed.

However, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Lidl will remain open for a limited number of hours.

All of these claim to have been accepting Boxing Day holiday requests where possible.

Amrit Singh, owner of Nisa Local High Heath in Walsall, told betterRetailing he is hopeful customers will be more likely to use convenience stores to do their top-up shops with supermarkets shut.

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“This will open up opportunities, but it’s hard to know what the impact will be,” he said. “Customers will use us to do their top-up shopping, whether its batteries or alcohol.”

But he said it’s likely customers would stock up on extra knowing they can’t go to the supermarket.

“People might just get more of what they need,” he said. “If anything, the supermarkets that are closing are just reiterating the point that they will be closing, and are encouraging customers to use them before then.”

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Sophie Towers, of Kibble Bank Store in Burnley, is optimistic her takeaway wine and beer deals will give her store the edge on Boxing Day.

“As an independent Boxing Day is always a really good day for us,” she said. “Its inevitable this year is going to be different, but we have a lot more meal deal offers and are putting promotions on alcohol.”

When asked whether closing her doors to reward staff was an option, Towers said: “We can’t afford to close if every other independent in our area is going to be open. We have to remain competitive.

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“We have to be realistic. We have bills to pay and our expenditure has risen during the pandemic, due to taking on more staff.”

Retail expert Bryan Roberts advised those stores who are near a closed supermarket to make it known to customers they will be open.

“It makes sense to flag up that you will be open,” he said. “Put up signage and say to customers you are going to be open.”

Read more Christmas retail news and product news