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MPs are debating whether to ban large stores from opening on Boxing Day after thousands of people signed a petition to allow shop workers to spend more time with their families.

Nearly 150,000 people have signed that petition asking for Boxing Day shopping to be banned, a day which in the past has seen 365,000 people in the UK retail industry work.

Labour MP Helen Jones said Boxing Day should be a “day of rest” after the busy Christmas sales.

Ms Jones said: “I went from feeling quite indifferent about Boxing Day openings to believing it does exploit very low paid workers, who often have to work late on Christmas Eve to get the shops ready and then have to go in very early on Boxing Day morning.”

Currently, there are no controls on trading hours on Boxing Day unless it falls on a Sunday. In the past, Prime Minister Theresa May has said the Government will not change the current trading laws.

Patrick Munden, head of marketing and communications, Salmon, said: "Although Theresa May has refused to shut shops on Boxing Day, it is worth retailers thinking about whether they could maximise their online offering instead of opening for a day.

“Times such as these reiterate the importance of having a strong and aligned multichannel offering especially during the Christmas peak - retailers can hold their Boxing Day sales on their online and mobile sites, which would allow retailers to still tap into the revenue opportunity Boxing Day sales provides.”

Boxing Day brings billions of shoppers who are attracted by the sales. In 2015, £3.74 million was spent in the sales, according to VoucherCodes.co.uk. This was a 6% increase on sales made in 2014.

A report from the House of Commons Library reveals that 354,000 people in the UK retail industry worked on Boxing Day in 2014, equivalent to 12% of those working in the retail sector.

Mr. Munden added: "Shoppers do indeed still enjoy the in-store experience, so retailers should think about how they can still provide that physical offering. Click and Collect for instance is a great way to maximise both online and in-store, keeping a cohesive multichannel experience for customers.

"Ultimately, consumers are loyal to brands that deliver an outstanding level of service and make our busy lives easier, so by providing them with a strong multichannel offering over Boxing Day, retailers can keep consumers' post-Christmas sales fix abated."