Just when it seemed that all the papers had to report were job cuts, Leeds based supermarket giant Morrisons has pledged to create 5,000 jobs this year, bucking the rise in unemployment as it looks to grow despite the economic downturn.
Britain's fourth-largest supermarket group said on Monday that it would create new positions across its chain of stores. The new roles will include working on Morrisons' butchery, fish and bakery counters, said the personnel director, Norman Pickavance.
"Even in these challenging economic conditions, Morrisons is committed to hiring and training new people to keep retail as the engine room of the economy and support our continuing growth," Pickavance said.
Morrisons wants to add another 93,000 square metres (1m sq ft) of store space over the next few years. In December it agreed to buy 38 stores from Co-op once the latter's acquisition of Somerfield is finalised, although those stores will already have their own staff in place.
Analysts believe that Morrisons enjoyed a good Christmas, forecasting sales up by about 9% in December.
Today's announcement came as the government hosted a jobs summit and outlined plans to combat unemployment. The government have even cited Morrisons' move as a sign of optimism.
It also comes three days after rival Sainsbury's also announced that it would swell its headcount by 5,000. Justin King, chief executive, said the firm had enjoyed its ''best-ever Christmas''.
Whilst this news may not seem to have an immediate impact on the lives of taxation professionals – as Georgiana Head comments ' When large businesses like Morrisons pledge to increase their staff by 5,000 its got to make us feel more optimistic – any boost to employment figures can only help the UK economy which will always have a knock on effect to the tax profession. Think of it as 5,000 more people with pay packets who are spending in the UK, with Sainsbury's figures as well its as many new jobs as the entire UK staff of a Big 4 accountancy firm.'