16,000 New Jobs At UK’s Biggest Supermarket With Boom In Online Shopping

A spurt in demand for online purchase has prompted the largest supermarket of the United Kingdom, Tesco, to create 16,000 jobs to meet demands of its online business.

This is a rare boost to the otherwise severely struggling UK economy.

The 16,000 new jobs will be permanent in nature and would be in addition to the 4,000 new jobs it has already added since the beginning of the of the novel coronavirus pandemic, said Britain’s largest supermarket chain in a statement on Monday.

Tesco added that those who had joined the company as temporary staff during the beginning of the pandemic crisis will be offered the new permanent positions first. The new job roles range from pickers to assemble customer orders to delivery drivers and other roles primarily at the company’s stores and distribution centers.

Compared to about 600,000 a week at the start of the pandemic, the online business of the company now caters to almost 1.5 million customers each week.

“These new roles will help us continue to meet online demand for the long term,” UK CEO Jason Tarry said in a statement.

Since novel coronavirus pandemic induced lockdowns were introduced in March, there has been a surge in online grocery sales in the United Kingdom. Retailers now believe that some of the consumers who had shifted to the online medium will remain permanently there for purchasing. Last month, Amazon announced free grocery deliveries for its Prime members in London and the surrounding areas which underscored by the new market opportunity that the retailers no see.

Online sale accounted for about 9 per cent of its total sale prior to the pandemic, Tesco said, which has now become more than 16 per cent. The company expects that for the current year, the value of online sales will grow by two thirds compared to 2019 and will touch a value of more than £5.5 billion ($7.2 billion).

The announcement of Tesco of the creation of new jobs is a welcome one for workers in the retail industry in the country as they are facing mass layoffs at some of Tesco’s rivals including Marks & Spencer and Walgreens -owned pharmacy chain Boots.

The rate of unemployment in the UK is growing according to statistics from its Office for National Statistics, which said earlier this month that since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses in March, more than 730,000 jobs have been lost in the country. The major UK companies culling thousands of positions include British Airways, BP and aerospace company Rolls-Royce.

With the continued growth in its online business, it can further increase the number of new jobs in the near future, Tesco said on Monday. And as part of a government-subsidized program, six months of work experience to 1,000 people under 25 is also being planned to be offered by the company.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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