Sainsbury's colleague

The move was welcomed by shopworkers’ union Usdaw

Sainsbury’s is to close all stores, including convenience stores and petrol forecourts, on Boxing Day as a thank you to staff.

The retailer joins rivals Morrisons and M&S in shutting stores on 26 December this year as a reward to staff for their efforts throughout the pandemic.

As well as supermarkets, c-stores and forecourts, the move will also apply to all Argos and Habitat outlets.

Sainsbury’s said the decision, which will apply to 170,000 staff, was made after “listening closely to colleagues as well as trade unions”.

“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,” said Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts. “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.”

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of shopworkers’ union Usdaw, 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.

“Key workers have done so much this year and we don’t think it is too much to ask to give them the longest possible break over the festive season. We now hope that other retailers will follow Sainsbury’s lead, by closing their stores on 26 December to help workers enjoy their Christmas, give them a well-deserved breather and make Boxing Day special again.”

Waitrose and Aldi said they traditionally always closed stores on Boxing Day.