Think of a number

While this sounds like a lot – it is only an 8.5% increase in personnel. Compare that to Marks & Spencer, which is increasing its staff by 18,000 for the festive season, adding almost a third on to its 60,000-strong team. Perhaps the rejuvenated retailer is expecting a run on underwear, cotton suits and smoked salmon sarnies this winter. Either way, expect the tills at M&S to be ringing right up until 1 Jan 2003.

Another big name expecting a boom is Woolworth’s. The discount store is boosting its personnel by 17% from 35,000 to 41,000, while fellow supermarket giant Asda will see its staff numbers grow by 10,000 to 130,000, an increase of 8.3%. Not to be left out, pharmacy Boots is also getting in on the recruiting act. It is looking for another 7,000 people to man the aisles and tills. The 12.5% increase on its permanent crew of 55,000 makes one wonder: are they anticipating a lot of runny noses over Christmas or perhaps increased demand for headache tablets for the office party hangover?

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