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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 20:13 GMT
Shops to open on Christmas Day
Christmas Turkey
If you don't fancy turkey, you could go shopping
A parliamentary campaign to stop large stores trading on Christmas Day has floundered.

Supporters of the Christmas Day Trading Bill hoped that it would get through the parliamentary process before this Christmas.

While the bill passed through the House of Lords successfully, it has no chance of success before this year's festive season as MPs break up for Christmas on Wednesday - and the bill is yet to pass through its Commons' stages.

The bill proposed to limit large shops of more than 280 square metres from trading on 25 December.

Union anger

Shopworker's Union Usdaw, which was backing the bill, said that shop workers should not be forced to go to work on 25 December.

Bary Allen, publicity officer for Usdaw, said that it was essential for people to be guaranteed at least one day off during the Christmas period.

He said: "It is the busiest time of year for shops, and workers must contend with the pre-Christmas rush and the January sales. "

Which shops are opening?
Woolworths: Edgware Road, London; Balham, London; Brixton, London and Southall, west London
Budgens: 110 stores, including 17 supermarkets
Although most department stores and supermarkets plan to stay closed on Christmas Day, Woolworths and Budgens are two chains that will open shops.

Budgens is opening 110 stores, including 17 supermarkets, 38 Budgens Express and 28 Budgens Local on Christmas Day.

Woolworths is opening four stores.

Its Edgware Road, Balham, and Brixton branches in London will be open between 12 to 4pm; while its Southall store in west London will be open until 6pm.

Companies defend decision

Both companies said the shops were opening in city centres, or in areas with a high proportion of clients who did not celebrate Christmas.

Rod Alexander, director of corporate communications for Budgens, said: "Most of those stores opening on Christmas Day are in city locations where many people, including our team members, do not celebrate Christmas. All team members who work on Christmas Day do so voluntarily and are paid premium rates."

Budgens also said that the largest stores opening on Christmas Day were not big. They are less than 3,000 square feet.

However, Usdaw said that the shops' argument was indefensible.

Mr Allen is also concerned that it could create a "snowball effect":

"In isolation a few stores opening might not be a big deal, but if everyone repeated it throughout the country then there could soon be a situation where all shops were open on Christmas Day."

Closed doors

Sainsbury's will not open any supermarkets, but its six petrol forecourt stores will be open.

Asda will not open on Christmas Day or on Boxing Day.

A spokesman said: "We think our customers want to enjoy the holiday as much as our colleagues do."

See also:

13 Dec 01 | England
Christmas cards show home truths
12 Dec 01 | Business
Christmas boost for airlines
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