M&S has announced that from December 21 to December 23, hundreds of its stores - including the Peterborough Brotherhood store - will be open until midnight to allow shoppers to social distance while shopping for the things they need for the festive period.
Although it is not the first time that the retailer has opened stores until midnight in the days leading up to Christmas, the extended hours last year were limited to 15 sites. This year, 403 shops will be trading.
All food-only stores, except those in travel locations, and combined clothing and food shops at retail parks are the sites expected to be kept open. Some high street and shopping centre sites have been allowed to open until 10pm, but the Queensgate branch will be opening until 8pm.
Sacha Berendji, the company's retail, operations and property director, said: "We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence this Christmas, which means supporting social distancing in our stores and minimal queuing outside as the weather gets colder.
"To help with this, our Sparks Book & Shop service is now live at every store and we’ll be operating our longest ever opening hours just before Christmas to help customers purchase everything they need to make the big day special – however they are celebrating – whether it’s picking up the turkey, or collecting a last minute present they’ve ordered online.
"Along with the wider industry, we continue to ask for Sunday trading hours to be extended to help us increase our capacity to serve everyone safely this festive season."
Similar news has been announced at Waitrose, though details on which branches will stay open are yet to be revealed.
A spokesperson said: "Waitrose shops will trade normal hours in the run up to Christmas Eve, with the exception of some stores which will open for extended hours on 21, 22 and 23 December.
"The latest these shops will open will be 11pm for convenience shops and 10pm for our supermarkets."
Customers were directed to check individual store opening hours online closer to the time.
Bosses at Primark spoke at the beginning of the lockdown period about extending opening hours in the run up to Christmas, with George Weston, chief executive of Primark parent company Associated British Foods, saying: "In some locations we could even open 24 hours. We know the demand is going to be there."
Aldi has also said it intends to trade until 11pm in most stores from December 21 to December 23.