Now Tesco creates 20,000 jobs – with pay
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Monday 05 March 2012
Tesco will shrug off criticism of its role in the Government's "workfare" scheme today by creating 20,000 jobs as it attempts to revive sluggish sales and tighten its grip on Britain's shopping basket.
Britain's biggest supermarket will flood its 2,175 stores with the new staff at busy times to improve customer service and concentrate the £67bn-a-year business on fresh food.
The announcement – warmly welcomed by the Government amid rising unemployment – comes at a particularly testing time for the grocery chain.
In January, after 11 months in the job, Tesco's new chief executive, Philip Clarke, disclosed that like-for-like sales had slipped 1.3 per cent over the Christmas period, as it lost out to rivals who invested more in promotions.
Explaining that profit warning, its first for 20 years, Mr Clarke took an apparent swipe at his predecessor, Sir Terry Leahy, by suggesting that Tesco – which has expanded rapidly overseas in recent years in the US and Asia – had not invested enough in its British business.
"We've been running the stores a bit hot for a while and we need to invest back in people in the stores and product in the stores," Mr Clarke said. The new chief executive said he was determined to match the growth of Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. The company has struggled to project positive news since Mr Clarke, formerly the group's international and IT director, took over in March.
Last August, Tesco's head of banking and online operations, Andrew Higginson, announced he was leaving, followed in January by the head of its Asian operations, David Potts.
Last month, Tesco came under fire for taking part in a Government scheme which removed the benefits of the young unemployed if they failed to complete a month of unpaid work experience. Following "slave labour" protests at its stores, Tesco said it would pay the workers and give jobs to all those who successfully completed their month.
Announcing the new jobs programme – which will begin immediately – Tesco said it would "invest significantly" in additional staff hours and training to improve customer experience, particularly on fresh produce, fresh meat, bakery and counter services, which it said shoppers most valued.
The company, the biggest private sector employer in the UK, suggested most of the jobs would go to the young unemployed.
Tesco employs 290,000 staff. A quarter of its workforce, 70,000 people, are under the age of 25.
- 2 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...