Published: 13:05, 13 September 2021
| Updated: 15:27, 13 September 2021
Sainsbury's has become the latest supermarket to announce it will close stores on Boxing Day.
The UK grocer said all of its supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations will remain shut on December 26 as well as its Argos and Habitat branches.
The move follows similar announcements by Morrisons, Aldi, M&S and Waitrose who have all confirmed they too will shut for a two-day Christmas break this year.
Sainsbury's, just like fellow supermarket Morrisons, said the move would give its 170,000 staff a well-earned Christmas holiday and enable them to spend more time with friends and family over the festive period.
There has been immense pressure on supermarkets and staff since the start of the pandemic with teams working throughout the coronavirus outbreak and both lockdowns while managing new pandemic regulations alongside the strain of stock shortages.
Sainsbury’s said senior leaders at the company made the decision to close on Boxing Day after listening to feedback from staff and trade unions.
Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “Christmas is a really special time for so many, but because of lockdown restrictions last year, lots of us weren’t able to celebrate in the way we wanted.
“In recognition of this and to say a massive thank you to all our colleagues for everything they have done during the last challenging year, we will be closing all of our supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol filling stations, as well as Argos and Habitat stores, this Boxing Day.
“I want to thank our customers in advance for their understanding, which will mean as many of our team as possible can have a well-deserved break to spend time with loved ones.”
Usdaw, the union for shop and distribution staff has been urging all retailers to consider giving staff the opportunity for a 'proper festive break' where possible this year.
Speaking shortly after the announcement by Morrisons in August, Usdaw National Officer Joanne McGuiness said: “The last year-and-a-half has been unlike any other. The pandemic meant shopworkers stepped up and kept essential services running.
“Key workers have done so much this year and we are asking retailers to give their staff the longest possible break over the festive season to provide them with a well-deserved breather. We don’t think this is too much to ask for.”