Department store chain John Lewis has revealed plans to make the Christmas shopping experience safer and also more “comfortable” and “convenient” this year.

Its “fuss-free” Christmas shopping measures will be implemented from Wednesday this week, when England’s lockdown lifts and non-essential retailers are permitted to reopen.

New features will include bookable shopping slots, a virtual queuing system, and click-and-collect car park collections at over 30 stores.

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Its shops will also be given the opportunity to extend their opening hours in a bid to maximise profits through December.

Some measures, such as bookable shopping slots, will also be available in Scotland and Wales.

Customers can book their slot on the John Lewis website, with the facility intended to spread out footfall in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The virtual queue system, meanwhile, will come into play if there is a queue outside a store. Customers will be able to keep their place in the queue without waiting outside the shop, and will be given a time at which to return.

Pippa Wicks, executive director of John Lewis, said: “We’re excited to reopen our shops in England and we’re looking forward to welcoming back our customers to help them make this Christmas extra special.

“Our priority is to make sure that they are able to shop as safely and easily as they can, whether in our shops or online, while continuing to be delighted and inspired by our Christmas offer.

“While the nation is famous for it’s love of queuing, we want to make sure that as temperatures drop, our customers have the chance to do their Christmas shopping in a comfortable, convenient way, however they choose to shop with us.

“Our partners have been busy making our shops look and feel as festive as ever and we hope that they will bring our customers some Christmas cheer as they prepare for the festive season.”