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Think of a number

With just two and a bit months to go until Christmas, supermarkets and high-street retailers are rushing to bring more hands on deck to meet the anticipated shopping madness. Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket group is taking on an additional 17,000 staff to bolster its permanent corps of 200,000.

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?

  • For comment or suggestion write to larry_schlesinger@vnu.co.uk.

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