Shops in England will be allowed to stay open for 24 hours a day in the run-up to Christmas and in January, the housing secretary has said.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Robert Jenrick said the relaxation of the rules would allow shopping to be “more pleasant and safer”.
Shopkeepers and councils would decide how long stores stay open, he added.
Primark has become one of the first to say that it will take advantage of the new rules.
The clothing retailer plans to open 11 of its stores for 24 hours when they are allowed to begin trading again once England’s lockdown is lifted on Wednesday.
Months of restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus have hit the High Street hard, and the hope is the relaxation of opening hours will boost business.
The new rules would run from Monday to Saturday.
“None of us, I suspect, enjoys navigating the crowds, and none would relish that when social distancing is so important to controlling the virus,” Mr Jenrick wrote.
“These changes mean your local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping, with less pressure on public transport.”
Mr Jenrick urged local councils to offer retailers “the greatest possible flexibility” when determining trading hours. Shops and supermarkets would also be given more leeway over stock delivery times he said, to keep the roads clearer during the day.
The government hopes the new rules will provide a much-needed boost for brick-and-mortar retail, after many shops were forced to close during lockdown. That pushed shoppers online, exacerbating a trend which was already putting pressure on some High Street chains.