Chain's shop workers given Boxing Day break

Hughes Electrical chairman Robert Hughes

Hughes Electrical boss Robert Hughes gives staff Boxing Day off - Credit: Hughes Electrical

More than 700 staff working for a regional retail chain have been given an early Christmas present after their boss said stores would stay shut on Boxing Day.

The post-Christmas bank holiday is normally a big day on the retail calendar, but Hughes Electrical has joined some retail giants in giving shop workers an extra day’s break to reward them for their efforts during the pandemic.

Asda Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl are also offering their staff extra time off over Christmas. Food stores Sainsbury’s and the East of England Co-op have confirmed they intend to open. Tesco and Morrisons have not confirmed their opening hours - but both opened on Boxing Day last year.

Discount store B&M is staying closed on January 1 to give staff an extra day over the new year.

Hughes Electrical said it wanted staff to “enjoy more time with their loved ones over the festive season”.

The Lowestoft-based electrical chain will shut more than 30 stores across seven counties in England — including Suffolk and Norfolk — along with its delivery depots, trade, rental and head office operations.

 But customers will still be able to buy goods via its website either for home delivery or ‘click & collect’.

Chairman Robert Hughes said: “This has been like no year any of us has experienced and about as far from normal as you can get.
“Traditionally Boxing Day has been one of our busiest as people head for the shops to pick up post-Christmas bargains. But we feel given this extraordinary year it is time to put our fantastic staff, and their families, ahead of normal business needs.

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“All have been super flexible since the pandemic first hit, be it working flat out to supply vital electrical goods to the NHS and vulnerable people during lockdown, while having to adhere to strict Covid secure protocols, or those who had to wait patiently while on furlough for our stores to reopen.

“Hughes is a proud family business and next year we celebrate our centenary so we felt it only appropriate to make this move as a big thank you to our staff, while we all look forward to a much brighter and better new year.”

All parts of the business will trade normally between now and December 24, with the retailer’s 10 larger stores open for extended hours “to make life easier for customers”.