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Toy Shop Owner Plans To Shut On Christmas Eve - And Lose Millions

Chris Ogden

| Last updated 

Toy Shop Owner Plans To Shut On Christmas Eve - And Lose Millions

Above all others, Christmas is the time of year when we're told that money shouldn't be a concern, and instead should focus on relaxing and enjoying time with our families.

That principle definitely goes for Gary Grant, a Christian toy shop owner who plans to close all 149 branches of his store, The Entertainer, as usual this Sunday - even though it's also Christmas Eve.

Gary's 1,700 staff are set to have the day off on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, costing the company around £2.3m ($3.1m) - and all for the chain's tradition of observing the Sabbath.

Credit: The Daily Mirror

"We don't trade on Sundays - any Sundays," Gary, 59, told the Daily Mirror. "Keeping the Sabbath holy is one of the Ten Commandments."

"As a Christian, I believe in families. For our staff, the fact they have a day off with the family on a Sunday is really important."

The Entertainer is Britain's largest independent toy retailer, which Gary founded with his wife, Catherine, in 1981 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. The business now makes a profit of £9m ($12m) on sales of £150m ($200m).

The chain is known for reflecting Gary's Christian values - the business donates 10 percent of its profits to charity and does not sell toys deemed to have any connection to the occult - including Halloween costumes and Harry Potter merch.

While Gary accepts that he'll take stick for his decision to stay shut on Christmas Eve - the second biggest trading day of the year - he remains firm in his beliefs that his staff should have the time off to spend time with their friends and family. What a guy.

"The toy industry is so reliant on Christmas: if you didn't have Christmas you wouldn't have a toy industry," he admitted. "So there is a fine line between running a viable business that gets caught up in the commerciality of the season, but on the other hand not losing the real meaning of Christmas.

"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'. Staff may well be working six days a week, and long days. They need a break."

Credit: The Entertainer

Gary's decision has been praised by the trade union Usdaw, which represents shopworkers across the UK.

"Staff in retail work very long hours in the run-up to Christmas," an Usdaw spokesperson said.

"Our members tell us they need time off to recuperate as well as to spend time with their family and friends. That is especially important when they have children."

We have to say, taking such a heavy hit when there are such easy pickings to be made is a noble gesture.

Props to Gary for sticking with his principles.

Featured Image Credit: Google

Topics: Toys, Christmas, UK News, Shopping, News

Chris Ogden
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