Stores will be open up to 10PM depending on location
O2 will operate its stores under new trading hours that the MNO says will add almost 1,000 extra hours across the Christmas trading period when the second national lockdown lifts on December 2.
The operator will reopen 364 stores across England which will stay open up to 10PM across the country. O2 says the exact opening hours of each store will vary depending on its location, as some shops are bound to conditions set by their landlords and shopping centres.
Giving our customers more time to shop and support the high street after the latest national lockdown is crucial.
— Mark Evans (@MarkEvansO2) November 26, 2020
O2 will continue to use the guidelines it implemented when first reopening its stores this summer.
These include social distancing markings, PPE for employees, enhanced cleaning processes, and a virtual queuing system that sends a text to customers when a store assistant is ready to see them for a one-on-one appointment.
In justifying the new hours, O2 pointed to research it carried out earlier this year which said that 60 per cent of customers enjoy going to their high street store, with 41 per cent wanting to see and touch products they are interested in buying.
“We know that tech is always high on many Christmas lists each year,” said O2 sales director Gareth Turpin. “We want to make it as easy as possible to get the best advice on that new phone or tablet, and we’re adding extra trading hours to help the high street and give more time for face-to-face service as people do their Christmas shopping.”
Mobile News has reached out to the other operators to see what their plans are around reopening hours. In the final days before the second lockdown, Three extended the opening hours of 109 English stores, with new closing times ranging from 6PM to 8PM.
Three CEO Robert Finnegan has criticised the government for not labelling operator physical retail stores as essential business during this year’s national lockdowns.
“There should have been an exemption for mobile stores, and the four operators have written to DCMS to get that exemption,” he said. “The stores provide services for a number of customers who would prefer to go into the store rather than ring the contact centre. We estimate that 60 per cent of people go in-store for service, and those people are not able to do so during lockdown.”