Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Asda creating 7,000 new UK jobs

Asda store
Asda said it hoped to target 3,000 long-term unemployed people

Asda is to create 7,000 new jobs this year, becoming the latest supermarket to add new positions as their sales continue to rise despite the recession.

The firm, part of US giant Wal-Mart, said about 3,700 of the new jobs would be created by opening 14 new stores and the extension of 15 existing outlets.

An additional 2,000 positions are being created at its home shopping unit, plus about 1,000 through organic growth.

Asda's news comes as broadcaster BSkyB said it was creating 1,000 new jobs.

Our track record of recruiting and retraining people is second to none
Andy Bond, Asda chief executive

BSkyB said it needed to create the jobs to cope with continuing strong demand for its services.

In other jobs announcements on Wednesday:

• Car parts firm GKN is to cut more jobs this year, after it said it had shed 242 in the UK since October because of the slump in new vehicle sales

• Home shopping retailer Shop Direct is cutting up to 900 call centre jobs as more of its customers are now buying online

• Thames Water is reducing its workforce by 300 people

• Luxury car firm Aston Martin is moving its staff to a three-day week.

Help for jobless

Asda said it aimed to specifically target long-term unemployed people for 3,000 of the new vacancies, which are both full-time and part-time.

BSkyB office
BSkyB is also creating jobs

"Our track record of recruiting and retaining people is second to none," said Asda chief executive Andy Bond.

Asda said it would work with government agency Remploy to try to secure employment for a significant number of disabled people currently without jobs.

The retailer is also adding 120 new jobs at its in-store pharmacies and opticians.

Asda's announcement follows after similar moves by its main rivals earlier this month.

Sainsbury's is creating 5,000 new jobs this year, while Waitrose is adding 4,000 posts, Morrisons 5,000 and Tesco up to 10,000.

Car industry problems

GKN said it had shed 2,800 jobs globally - including 242 in the UK - since October, and that more would now have to follow because of the slump in the global car industry.

The news came before Business Secretary Peter Mandelson met UK car industry bosses to discuss the details of the government's 2.3bn support package.

Announced on Tuesday, the deal includes a scheme to unlock 1.3bn of loans from Europe for car manufacturers and major suppliers.

The government has also pledged to guarantee up to 1bn of further loans.

Lord Mandelson said the meeting was "extremely useful".

"We had a productive discussion on how the industry and supply chain can access these guarantees as well as the previous measures we have outlined," he said.

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