SHOPPERS have been told they must return unwanted festive gifts by Christmas Eve.

There will be no time to see disappointed faces on Christmas Day for people who buy from one branch of Littlewoods, which has told shoppers that presents have to be returned by December 24.

Littlewoods at the MetroCentre, Gateshead, is going to be reopened as a Primark early next year, but is currently still trading.

And while the shop is offering reductions on most of its stock, the shop is stopping any exchanges after December 24.

Customer Margaret Brown, 58, from West Moor in Newcastle, said she was originally told that returns to the store would be taken until January 6 - after people had had the chance to see their presents.

She said: "I have written to the company twice and they have not responded. It is very bad customer service, never mind this silly returns policy."

Littlewoods shops across the country are being reopened as Primark stores or are being closed down early next year.

A spokesman for the MetroCentre shop said that they are unable to accept returns because there will be no stock to exchange the goods with.

A spokesman for Associated British Foods, which owns the company, said: "It is just particularly bad timing because it is the run up to Christmas but, on the upside, customers are receiving all of our goods at highly-reduced prices."