Morrisons has 1,000 more workers in its basket

Wm Morrison plans to create more than 1,000 jobs to pick and pack orders for its products sold on Amazon.

The grocer said it would recruit additional workers to process orders from more than 50 stores around the UK.

Morrisons has had a tie-up with Amazon since 2016. It extended its presence with the technology group last month so its Prime members have access to its full range on Amazon’s main website. Orders are placed on Amazon, before being picked in stores by Morrisons employees. The shopping is collected by Amazon workers and delivered to customers on the same day.

The announcement is a boost to Britain’s beleaguered retail sector, where jobs have been cut at the fastest pace in a decade as the government replaces its job retention scheme. Thousands of in-store jobs will be lost as retailers including Boots, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer take an axe to their shop numbers.

The commitment from Morrisons comes after Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda announced plans to expand their online home delivery operations amid a surge in demand as a result of the pandemic. Tesco said last month that it would create an additional 16,000 permanent jobs. Aldi and Lidl, the discount supermarket chains, have said they would create an additional 1,200 and 1,000 jobs respectively this year.

Morrisons, which is headquartered in Bradford, is Britain’s fourth largest supermarket group, with a 10 per cent share of the food market. It has 494 stores in the UK and about 122,000 employees, after retaining 26,000 of the temporary workers hired during the peak of the pandemic.

The company said last month that it had increased its online business fivefold since the start of the year by adding click-and-collect services to 280 stores and by doubling the number of stores from which it picked orders delivered by Ocado.

David Potts, 63, chief executive of Morrisons, said this month that the pandemic had led to a “renaissance of British supermarkets”.

The company reported an 8.8 per cent rise in half-year sales, excluding fuel, to £7.5 billion. However pre-tax profits fell by 25.3 per cent to £202 million, which it blamed on costs from the pandemic including hiring an additional 40,000 staff, paying sick leave for 20,000 isolating employees, trebling staff bonuses and installing safety measures in its stores