Supermarket chain Asda is to create 5,000 jobs this year.
City analysts claim the growth is in line with Asda’s consolidation strategy, which follows the global trend of supermarkets defending their market positions with massive expansion campaigns.
Asda plans to open nine stores in the UK, extend six others and rebuild four. A new distribution depot in Bedford is also proposed by the country’s second largest supermarket chain.
DIY market leader B&Q has also announced an ambitious expansion programme. Personnel director Mike Cutt said, “Every time we open a new store we must hire 250 staff. We plan to open 25 stores this year.”
Analyst Andrew Sheffield, of stockbroker BWD Rensburg, said the DIY sector had boomed in recent years, due largely to the popularity of TV programmes such as Changing Rooms.
He said: “It is the only part of retail that has seen real growth.”