‘Exceptional growth’ in online shopping because of lockdown has seen Tesco create 16,000 new jobs.
Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, said many of the roles were likely to go to staff who joined them on a temporary basis at the start of the pandemic.
The new posts would include 10,000 staff to pick customer orders from shelves and 3,000 delivery drivers, said the retailer.
There was a likelihood that more new posts would be created in the coming months, the firm said.
The surge in online demand experienced by many retailers saw Tesco’s online customer numbers rise from around 600,000 before Covid-19’s arrival in the UK to nearly 1.5 million now, with 16% of sales coming through the internet as opposed to 9% before the pandemic.
In July Tesco said it was expanding its same-day delivery service from London and the south east to cover all of the UK to compete with the likes of Amazon.
The new permanent roles come on top of the 4,000 jobs added since March.
Tesco has introduced 400 extra vans and changed shopping hours so more orders could be processed.
Head of Tesco in the UK and Ireland Jason Tarry said: “These new roles will help us continue to meet online demand for the long term and will create permanent employment opportunities for 16,000 people across the UK.”
Tesco added that it planned to support the government’s Kickstart work placement scheme by offering places to 1,000 young people. It said that more than 80 young people would join internship schemes in stores, distribution centres and offices in September and that about 50 students joined Tesco’s summer internship programme this year.
The grocer expects online sales of more than £5.5bn this year, up from £3.3bn last year.
Meanwhile, shops that are dependent on face-to-face sales received better news today as new figures from a retail analyst showed that footfall was up 4.1% in the 16 to 22 August period compared with the previous week.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, suggested new travel quarantine rules had boosted UK retail.
“It seems that the increased quarantine measures imposed last week on a number of overseas destinations are having a positive impact on UK footfall,” she said.
Werhle said that footfall in UK retail destinations “not only rose on a week on week basis”. But “the uplift was more than four times as large as the week before” with London and the south east experiencing rises of about 7% on the previous week. However, overall, footfall at all UK retail destinations was down 30.7% last week compared with the same week last year.