The owner of a toy shop chain faces losing sales of nearly £2.3 million after deciding to close his stores on Christmas Eve.
Gary Grant, boss of The Entertainer, is giving his 1,7000 works at all of his 149 shops December 24 off because it falls on a Sunday.
Mr Grant is a Christian and does not open on the Sabbath because of his faith.
He said: ‘We don’t trade on Sundays, any Sundays of the year, and as the dates have fallen for the current year, we will be closed for what will be the second largest trading day of the year.
‘As a Christian, I believe in families. And just being around for our children and our grandchildren, being able to have one day that we can meet together, we can eat together and stay together as a family, I think is very important.’
‘I know that if I do what I do with the right motive with the right intention, that I can rely on the fact that God will honour that.
‘In 1995, when Sunday trading became legal, God challenged me: “Are you going to give up Sunday trading?”.
‘Keeping the Sabbath holy is one of the 10 commandments, so I felt that I shouldn’t be opening the doors on a Sunday.
‘For many of our 1,700 staff, they say that the fact that they can have a day off with the family on a Sunday is really important to them, regardless of what they believe.’
Mr Grant estimated his stores could take around 1.5 percent of their annual turnover if they opened on Christmas Eve.
Annual turnover was £152,605,000 for the year ending January 2017 – but this was when the company only had around 130 stores.
He said: ‘I wrestled with this concept of Sundays. I really felt the Lord was saying to me, “Gary – just be closed on a Sunday”.’
The Entertainer opened 16 new stores this year and is enjoying its best year for turnover and profit since it began in 1981.
This is the first time Christmas Eve has fallen on a Sunday since 2006.
Mr Grant said: ‘People have said “What, even with Christmas Eve being a Sunday, you’re closed?”
‘And I say “Well, what’s the difference? The principle is a day of rest. A good number of the staff, from now until Christmas, may well be working six days a week, and long days.
‘They have given their all, and they need a break.” And on a seven day cycle, that’s what Sundays are.’
The Entertainer chain, based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, is part of the ‘Keep Sunday Special campaign with shopworkers’ union Usdaw.
Gary became a Christian in 1991, after attending a men’s breakfast at his local church.
The Entertainer does not stock Harry Potter merchandise, Halloween goods or realistic weaponry, and ten per cent of its profits are given to charity.
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