ONE of Bolton’s most recognisable town centre shops is to open on Boxing Day for the first time in more than 100 years of trading.

Marks and Spencer, in Deansgate, has traditionally remained closed on Boxing Day to allow staff more time to spend with their families.

It will now join dozens of other stores in the town centre which launch festive sales on December 26.

Workers were told of the rota change last week and are understood to be unhappy at the decision.

One worker, who asked not to be named, said: “There is a lot of anger about this.”

Another said the introduction of Boxing Day shifts would eat into the time staff spent with their families over the Christmas period.

But store bosses said that opening on Boxing Day was what customers wanted, while other businesses said any shop not opening on December 26 was losing business on one of the busiest trading days of the year.

A spokesman for Marks and Spencer said: “We will have more stores open on Boxing Day this year, including 175 full line stores.

“We know that some of our customers will be out and about in some shopping centres and would love to be able to shop with us, so it makes sense for us to open.”

Market Place manager Rod Neasham added: “Boxing Day is a very busy day in terms of trading.

“A lot of shops launch their sales on that day and it generates a lot of interest among shoppers.

“It is a very busy trading day, one of the busiest of the year for us.

“Any store which doesn’t open on Boxing Day is definitely missing out.”