There have been 275,000 appointment slots booked for Penneys stores around the country this week, the retailer has said.

Penney's 36 stores opened on an appointment-only basis from last Monday, with a full return to in-store shopping from next week.

The company's CEO, Paul Marchant, said they were "blown away by the response to shopping by appointment".

"It has been a fantastic welcome back and we are ready and waiting to fully re-open our doors to everyone from Monday," he said.

The firm has said that opening hours will be extended at every store to help reduce queues and that safety remains a top priority, with extensive measures in place in stores.

The easing of Government Covid-19 restrictions allows for all non-essential retail to reopen from Monday 17 May.