Fat Face will test closing 10 stores this Boxing Day to give staff an extra day with their families at Christmas.

Fat Face chief executive Anthony Thompson told Retail Week that if the trial works he would seek to close more stores on Boxing Day next year.

The decision comes after MPs last week rejected a petition signed by more than 200,000 people demanding that shops shut on December 26.

Thompson said: “We want to give our teams – and our customers – a day off. I used to be a store manager so I know how difficult it is to balance family life.”

However, he admitted that Boxing Day was a bumper sales day so the trial was necessary to see if the economics stack up.

The store managers of the shops involved in the trial – Reading, Glasgow, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fowey, Frome, Hereford, Tunbridge Wells, Shrewsbury, Ecclesall Road in Sheffield and Aldeburgh – were all confident that they could meet targets for the important January Sales period without opening on Boxing Day.

If the test is successful, Thompson said it would be repeated on a bigger scale.

“Retailers have always assumed that it is not viable to close on Boxing Day. We’re going to make sure this is based on fact,” he said.

Family values

Boxing Day is a big trading day for retailers, however some retailers opt not to open then. Jeweller Beaverbrooks has shuttered its doors on the day throughout its 97-year history.

Beaverbrooks chairman Mark Adlestone said: “Our business is run on strong family values and closing on Boxing Day is an important part of our ethos, as it allows us to give back to our people who work hard all year round and deserve to spend quality time with their loved ones.”