Independent retailers will have the grocery retail market almost to themselves on Christmas Day following the multiples' decision to close on December 25. The only stores trading in the multiple arena will be a handful of Somerfield stores in areas of London with a high ethnic population. Staff will be working on a voluntary basis. Other exceptions are six Sainsbury's Local forecourt stores operated in partnership with Shell and two Woolworths General Stores which are in London's Edgeware Road and Balham. Spar UK md Morton Middleditch said he was delighted by the news because Christmas was a "key trading day for convenience retailers". John Dowd, md of Morrisons which last year closed for an extra day over Christmas compared to its competitors, said: "Our record breaking sales for the period prove staff and shoppers alike appreciated the move. "Batteries were recharged and shelves replenished fully, ensuring that on reopening our customers were served with renewed vigour and the freshest foods available." Shopworkers union Usdaw welcomed the Co-operative Group's decision to close all of its stores this Christmas after last year's experiment in which 36 stores remained open. The campaign against Christmas Day trading in large stores moved up a gear in October after former Usdaw boss Lord Davies of Coity agreed to take on Gwyneth Dunwoody's Christmas Day trading Bill. The Bill had enjoyed wide support among MPs but failed to complete its final reading before parliament was dissolved in Spring. The union is confident the Bill will make it onto the statute books in time for next Christmas. {{NEWS }}