UK supermarket group Tesco said it will create an additional 16,000 permanent jobs to support the exceptional growth in its online business and may even increase the number of roles as the lockdown boosted its sales. 

"The supermarket expects the majority of these roles to be filled by colleagues who joined on a temporary basis at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but who now want to stay with the business permanently," it said. 

Tesco said the roles will include 10,000 pickers to assemble customer orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, along with other roles in stores and distribution centres. 

At a time when companies including high-street retailers, hotels and airlines have laid off tens of thousands of workers to cut costs, UK supermarkets have had to take on additional staff to deal with more demand for deliveries and groceries at home. 

Discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl said last month they will create an additional 1,200 and 1,000 jobs respectively this year in the UK, as the two companies continue to open more stores and drive market share gains. 

Ahold Delhaize, a major operator of supermarket chains in the US and Europe, said earlier this month that its brands hired more than 45,000 employees globally in the second quarter. 

UK grocery sales had surged during the pandemic, but slowed down in the 12 weeks ended August 9 as shopping habits eased back towards normality after months of lockdown, according to market researcher Kantar.

Kantar also said that grocery spend here is slowing down from the record-breaking heights seen during lockdown as restrictions on movement and eating out eased.

It noted that grocery spend of €930m over the four weeks up to August 9 was the lowest since February.