German supermarket chain Aldi is to recruit 1,050 additional employees in Ireland this year.

It said 700 of the jobs will be permanent roles serving new stores the company is planning to open.

The remainder will be temporary positions to provide additional support through the Covid-19 pandemic.

They will join the 500 additional staff that Aldi has recruited since the coronavirus crisis began last year.

"Additional investment for 2021 in new stores, store extensions and Project Fresh store upgrades confirms our continued commitment to the Irish economy," said Niall O'Connor, Group Managing Director at Aldi Ireland.

The new jobs will be across a range of positions, including store assistants, assistant store managers and store managers.

Six new Aldi shops will open later this year in Dunshaughlin, Douglas, Newbridge, Bayside in Dublin, Cahersiveen and Killarney.

A further six stores in Castlecomer, Roches Street in Limerick, Ballybrit, Ballyhaunis, Kanturk and Shannon are also in the planning process.

The German discount multiple already has 145 stores in Ireland and employs 4,500 people.

It is aiming to double its footprint in Dublin from the currently 23 outlets.

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Like most supermarkets and many other essential retailers, Aldi has enjoyed a surge in sales over the last year, driven by the additional demand for shop-bought food brought on by the pandemic.

Sales have risen by 15.2% in the last 12 months and, according to the latest data from Kantar, it held an 11.2% share of the market during the 12 weeks to 27 December.

However, the extra demand coupled with some longer opening hours and additional health and safety requirements have led to the need for additional staff.

The news was welcomed by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, who said the new jobs were a fantastic boost for the economy.

"I'm really glad to see Aldi continuing to offer both the living wage and sick pay to all employees, two benefits I would like to see more employers offering.

"I would like to thank them for their continued commitment to providing opportunities for Irish food and drink producers," he said.