Homebase to keep all stores closed nationwide on Boxing Day

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Despite Boxing Day traditionally being a key date in the diary for sale-savvy shoppers, research shows that the majority of UK consumers (92%) support retailers who choose to keep their doors closed on Boxing Day, a move also welcomed by retail staff.

The research released today by Homebase, one of the UK’s leading home improvement and garden retailers, supports its decision, which was announced to internal teams in October, to close all stores nationwide on 26 December.

While support for an extended Christmas break for retail staff is generally universal (97%), consumers aged 16-24 are the age group least likely to back the move (87%), while over 55’s are the top supporters (95%).

Regional retail habits

Edinburgh is the most supportive city in the UK for retailers having a break, with 100% of consumers welcoming retailers’ decision not to open on Boxing Day. Not surprisingly, it is the city least likely to go shopping the day after Christmas, with 89% avoiding the shops on Boxing Day and instead, choosing to watch TV or a film, eat and drink the leftovers and catch up on the much-needed sleep (57%) and one in five would spend part of their day writing thank you notes. Birmingham has traditionally been the busiest city for footfall in stores on Boxing Day with over one third of residents heading to the shops (39%), however Londoners are the most committed festive sale shoppers in the UK with more than half saying they will shop online if physical stores are closed (54%).

Top 5 regions in support of Boxing Day store closuresTop 5 cities in support of Boxing Day store closures
1.  Yorkshire and the Humber (96%)1. Edinburgh (100%)
2. Wales (95%)2. Norwich, Liverpool, Leeds (96%)
3. West Midlands, North West, South East, North West (94%)3. Manchester (95%)
4. East of England (92%) 4. Newcastle, Sheffield (94%) 
5. South West, East Midlands, Greater London (89%)5. Cardiff (93%)

Guilty pleasures

The findings reveal that two thirds (66%) of British store workers admit they would spend an extra day off on the sofa watching TV or films and nearly one in five (17%) would head online for their own retail deal. But there are also notable regional differences in how retail staff would use the extra break. Rather than staying inside, one third of Northern Irish store staff will be found in the pub (33%), while retail workers in Wales will wrap up and enjoy the outdoors (39%). One tenth of Scots are inclined to plan and book a holiday (11%), while foodies in the East of England will be donning their aprons and putting Christmas Day leftovers to good use making turkey soup (10%)!

If given an extended break, over half of UK retail staff say they would also change how and where they spend Christmas Day (55%). Three in four staff aged 16 to 24 say they will change their Christmas Day plans if they’re given Boxing Day off.

Retail staff nationwide believe the extra day off will make them more productive and engaged (94%).

Festive shopping cheer

Not only do prices change on Boxing Day, but it seems the atmosphere does as well with nearly two thirds (64%) of retail staff admitting they notice customers becoming more stressed or rushed on Boxing Day. It seems staff perceptiveness to mood changes differs between genders, with 88% of females noticing a difference in the general mood of shoppers compared to only 80% of male staff. 

Shoppers in Yorkshire and the Humber appear to keep the Christmas cheer longer than other cities in the UK, with over one fifth of retail staff (22%) noting that customers appear happier on Boxing Day than usual. Shoppers in the city of Belfast have been revealed to be the hardest to serve in the UK, with more than three quarters of staff noticing negative changes in demeanor.

Online detox

More than half (54%) of British consumers will choose not to shop online even if stores are closed on Boxing Day. However, UK adults aged between 25-34 will be least deterred by store closures, with more than two thirds (69%) still seeking out a dose of retail therapy online from the comfort of their homes. Males are more likely than females to bag an e-commerce bargain (51% vs. 42%).

Damian McGloughlin, CEO Homebase said: “The lead up to Christmas is always one of the busiest times for retailers, with in-store and support teams all working hard together to deliver for customers as they get ready for Christmas.”

“For the first time this year and as a huge thank you to our team, all Homebase stores will be closed until 27 December, giving everyone an extremely well-deserved extra day’s break – however they wish to spend it!”

“It’s great to see the whole country getting behind the move for retailers to give their teams this extra day off.”