Waitrose has announced it will create 3,000 new jobs as a result of the acquisition of some Co-Op stores and an ambitious growth programme.
The top-end supermarket has entered into a conditional agreement with The Co-operative Group to purchase 13 of its stores and open at least nine new branches in 2009.
Following its acquisition of Somerfield, the Co-op agreed to sell off 133 stores to satisfy the Office of Fair Trading that the merger was not anti-competitive.
More than 1,000 employees at the 13 Somerfield stores will join Waitrose, with a further 500 new jobs created at these branches. The nine new stores will result in more than 2,000 store jobs, with an additional 500 in operational support.
All new employees will become partners within the John Lewis Partnership, which means they become co-owners of the business and receive an annual share in profits.
Earlier this week, Morrisons said it would create 5,000 jobs this year as it continued its expansion. The jobs will be created across the business in a variety of positions, such as on its unique fresh food 'Market Street' counters, which include a butcher, fishmonger and bakery.
Meanwhile, budget supermarket Aldi is increasing its graduate intake by 50% to offer 150 university places on its management training scheme this year, bucking the trend where many employers are cutting their graduate recruitment as the economy continues to deteriorate.