UK supermarket Morrisons hires 6,000 staff to meet online demand

British supermarket Morrisons on Thursday said it was hiring about 6,000 new permanent staff to help meet booming online demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.


File photo: AFP

The food retailer said in a statement it was keeping 25,000 of the 45,000 temporary staff it hired in March amid Britain's Covid-19 lockdown.

A company spokesman told AFP that it had now handed permanent contracts to about "one quarter" of those 25,000 employees.

The retail sector enjoyed soaring online sales during the nationwide lockdown, which ran for about three months from late March, as consumers were forced to shop via computer screens and smartphones.

It comes as US e-commerce giant Amazon last week announced 7,000 new permanent jobs in the UK by the end of the year, as the coronavirus pandemic fuels online shopping, but hurts bricks-and-mortar businesses, which by contrast are shedding thousands of positions.

The biggest surge in new UK jobs fuelled by online demand has come from supermarket giant Tesco, with Britain's biggest retailer planning 16,000 new permanent roles.

Morrisons also said that it took a £155-million ($201-million, 171-million-euro) charge in investment costs related to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

That was heavily offset by a £93-million benefit from the government's tax break for virus-hit businesses.