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Very late night shopping

mschrstMarks & Spencer joins midnight shopping rush.

The chain is to open at midnight on Christmas Eve in an effort to make up for only being open for six hours on 23 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland because of Sunday trading laws.

Some 49 full-line branches will open as the chain tries to catch last-minute shoppers.

It will also open more than 160 stores until 10pm or later on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Christmas. As many as 14 will remain open until midnight.

23 December is historically the busiest shopping day, and there had been calls to repeat the experience of the Olympics when the Sunday shopping laws were temporarily relaxed.