Sales growth at supermarket retailer Asda means 2,500 jobs coming to UK with new store openings and website expansion

Supermarket chain Asda has announced it is creating 2,500 jobs in the UK this year.

The Walmart-owned firm says it is building new shops and upgrading existing ones, as well as spending money on its supply chain and website.

Asda announced the news as it reported sales for last year increased 4.5% to 22.8 billion.

It said that although its supermarkets are central to its continued growth, it is shifting focus to its multichannel business.

Previous spending on the company's website is said to have resulted in double-digit growth and that this is the main reason for the new investment, the firm said.

Home shopping capabilities at the retailer increased last month with the opening of a warehouse in Nottingham, which created jobs for around 600 people.

It says it will also be expanding its Click and Collect service for its George clothing brand, as well as for general merchandise items, at its 568 supermarkets in the UK.

Customers will be able to pick up groceries from around 200 stores by the end of the year, Asda said. This includes collection from lockers at the retailer's petrol stations.

The move adds to Asda's Collect Plus promotion, announced in March, through which people can pay for items online and pick them up (and return them) from 5,000 convenience stores and petrol stations in the UK.

Asda says it plans to open another 10 supermarkets, four of which will be smaller in scale and one which will not be selling any food.

Andy Clarke, Asda chief executive and president, said: "I'm proud that, in the continuing and very challenging trading environment, we were able to increase total sales by 4.5% last year. This shows that we are continuing to get it right for customers.

"By focusing on their needs through accelerating our investment in the technology and infrastructure to make shopping more convenient, customers can shop for what they want, when they want it."

Copyright Press Association 2013