Following this week’s announcement that an agreement had been made to relax lockdown restrictions over Christmas a number of retailers have decided to give a little back to their employees. 

In a year like no other, retail workers have gone above and beyond to continue to serve consumers amid job security fears and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by their employers.  

In what is typically the busiest period for high street giants a number have stores have delivered a poignant gesture to their staff ahead of the festive season.  

Here’s is what they’ve said. 

Marks and Spencer  

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M&S will close all its owned stores in the UK so that as many colleagues as possible can spend time with family and friends across both Christmas and Boxing Day.  

The superstore announced it is operating its longest ever trading hours this Christmas, with around 400 of its owned stores open until midnight in the days prior to Christmas to allow customers the space they need.  

Steve Rowe, CEO at M&S said: "Throughout the pandemic, our colleagues have gone above and beyond to deliver for our customers and as we enter the busy festive season they are doubling down on their efforts once again to help our customers deliver the Christmas magic for their families and friends. 

“2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for everyone and this Christmas, the celebrations we have, will be more precious than ever. 

"That’s why in the run up to Christmas we are opening longer hours and have accelerated the launch of new digital services such as Sparks Book & Shop to help our customers prepare. 

"But it’s also why we have taken the decision to close our operations on Boxing Day, so that our colleagues can enjoy more special time with their loved ones,” he added.  

"This is a big decision, but it is absolutely the right one given the incredible effort everyone has made in the most challenging of circumstances.” 

Home Bargains 

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Home Bargains announced that on top of extra time off this Christmas, staff will also receive a financial boost to thank them for their hard work. 

Staff will receive two weeks extra pay in their November pay packet to help with the cost of Christmas.  

And not only are they closing for Boxing Day, they will be closing at the earlier time of 5pm on Christmas Eve to allow staff to “relax and truly enjoy the break safely with their loved ones.” 

A Home Bargains Spokesperson said: "We want to recognise how hard our staff have worked throughout some very challenging times and allow them to relax and truly enjoy the break safely with their loved ones. 

"Home Bargains is a family-run business, and we know the importance of being together at Christmas time, now more than ever. 

"Our staff work tirelessly to keep all our stores running smoothly no matter what and this is our way of saying thank you to all of our staff for their hard work and commitment." 

Wickes 

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DIY outlet Wickes will close the doors of 235 this Christmas for the first time in 48 years.  

As an essential retailer, staff have worked throughout the pandemic and so the company has decided to close its doors on December 23 to grant their staff additional leave.  

Wickes will be closed for three day on December 24, 25 and December 26, the first major retailer to confirm they will be shutting for longer than usual this Christmas. 

David Wood, chief executive officer, at Wickes said: “The decision to close our stores and give our colleagues some meaningful time off was an easy one.  

“It’s been an unprecedented year and we wanted to take a moment to recognise the tremendous effort our team has gone to. 

“At a time when we usually connect with others, we felt it was right to support our colleagues with more time with friends and loved ones.”