British retailer the John Lewis Partnership plans to recruit 7,000 temporary workers for the Christmas trading period, 2,000 more than last year, tempting potential joiners in a tight labour market with free food and drink, it said on Wednesday.
The employee-owned partnership trades from 34 John Lewis department stores and 331 Waitrose supermarket stores and also has a huge online operation.
It said it is also recruiting more than 550 permanent full-time driver and warehouse workers across its distribution centres and Waitrose.com and John Lewis.com customer delivery centres.
'We will offer free food and drinks to partners and temporary workers from 4 October to 31 December to help ensure we can attract the help we need,' John Lewis said in its statement.
Official jobs data published on Tuesday showed businesses reporting over 1 million vacancies in the three months to August, the highest since these records began in 2001.
Last year Christmas celebrations in Britain were hindered by restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With no restrictions this year British retailers are expecting a bumper festive period.
People director at the John Lewis Partnership, Nikki Humphrey, said, "We know that as the first Christmas after lockdown, customers will want to make it really special and we're throwing everything we can into helping them celebrate - our festive team will have a crucial role to play.
"We’re looking for people who can deliver extraordinary service to help customers get what they need to celebrate. We look forward to welcoming people into our team across the country.”
Festive Season Highlights
The company will launch ten newly designed Christmas emporiums in our shops from October, aimed at offering a one-stop Christmas shop for a fun, inspirational experience, including in-store events and workshops for the whole family.
It will rollout more than 100 brand new Christmas products at Waitrose alongside much- loved favourites, including Slow-Cooked Bone-In British Venison Shoulder, Heston from Waitrose, The Giant Cracking Penny and 20 vegan products.
In addition, its new 300,000 square-foot distribution centre at Bardon, Leicestershire, will help support additional online demand ahead of Black Friday this year.
Recently, John Lewis Partnership signed a deal to lease a 1 million square-foot distribution centre from supermarket group Tesco to help meet growing online demand, with the creation of 500 jobs.