British supermarket chain Tesco Plc (TSCDY.PK,TSCO.L) said it intends to create 20,000 jobs in the UK over the next two years - a plan Prime Minister David Cameron said is a massive confidence boost for the UK economy.
"Their commitment to creating jobs and opportunities for young people at what is a difficult time for the economy is fantastic news for the UK as a whole and for those people they will help into work," Cameron said.
Terming the announcement a huge shot in the arm for the UK economy, the company's UK CEO Richard Brasher said, "In unprecedented economic conditions like these, major businesses have a big responsibility to step forward, invest and create jobs -- We will invest in more staff on the sales floor at busy times, greater expertise and help in the crucial areas of fresh food, and enhanced quality and service across our stores at all times."
Tesco's plan is to create these jobs by investing in customer service, refreshing existing stores and opening new ones, with a focus on giving opportunities to unemployed young people.
The UK economy has been struggling as confidence eroded with high unemployment and growing concerns about the crisis imposed by the debt-laden Europe. The British Chambers of Commerce, or BCC, today revised down its growth forecast for the economy this year, but ruled out chances for a double-dip recession.
"The UK economy faces serious challenges, with problems in the eurozone creating difficulties for exporters, combined with dampened domestic demand," BCC Director-General John Longworth said.
The nation's gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, the first contraction in a year, driven by a sharp fall in business investment that declined a seasonally adjusted 5.6 percent.
The initiatives announced by Tesco today are the first stage in the retailer's planned new investment in the UK business. Tesco is the country's largest private sector employer. It has over 290,000 staff and a quarter of its workforce is formed by young people under the age of 25.
TSCO.L closed on Friday at 318.25 pence, down 1.75 pence or 0.55 percent, on 14.2 million shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
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