Sainsbury’s has announced it will keep all of its supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol filling stations closed on Boxing Day.
It is the first grocer to announce the decision.
Sainsbury’s said the decision to keep all stores shut has been made in recognition of the “extraordinary efforts of colleagues throughout a challenging 18 months” since the start of the pandemic.
Around 170,000 colleagues have Boxing Day off, with the grocer hoping it enables those who missed celebrations last year to “have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with friends and family”.
Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive, 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.”
He added: “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.”
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said: “After discussions with Sainsbury’s we very much welcome the company closing all their stores on Boxing Day this year, to give their staff a proper break over Christmas.
“The pandemic showed just how important shopworkers are to our society and communities, as they stepped up and kept essential services running throughout.”