Asda to create 'up to 12,000 jobs' over five years
Supermarket giant Asda will create up to 12,000 UK shop posts over the next five years, its US owner Wal-Mart has said.
The strategy of the UK supermarket chain has the potential to create the posts, Wal-Mart said.
The announcement came after Wal-Mart chief executive Doug McMillon met Prime Minister David Cameron in an Asda at Clapham Junction in London on Monday.
Mr Cameron said that the new jobs would "give people financial security".
"I am delighted that Asda is continuing to invest heavily in the UK, creating another 12,000 jobs that will give people financial security for the future," Mr Cameron said.
Asda employs a total of 172,000 people in Britain.
Chief executive at Asda, Andy Clarke, told the BBC: "What a great time to expand. The economy is recovering and we are doing well. We have been focusing on the discount, and the premium, market for some time."
He said that such a focus helped in competing with discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl, adding that the economy had been "challenging" for many British households.
Mr Clarke said Asda would be opening stores in the south of the UK.
He said Wal-Mart's investment in Asda was "fantastic news" for the British public and that jobs would be created in superstores, smaller stores and in its online shopping facility.
BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed said: "This is the first time Asda has put a jobs number on its five-year strategy, which it announced last November. The jobs are a cautious estimate and could be higher."
Asda's five-year strategy announced 40 new conventional superstores, 100 new supermarkets, 150 forecourt shops, 1,000 new click-and-collect points and greater online penetration.