Supermarket giant Asda will be create 7,500 jobs in the UK next year, half of which will come from new store openings.

The grocer’s expanding home shopping service will account for a further 2,400 roles and 1,500 will be created from the conversion of Netto stores which Asda acquired in May this year.

Around one million sq ft will be added from the conversion as the former Netto stores create a division of 170 Asda Supermarket stores. The grocer expects to employ up to twice as many people in each of the Netto stores as currently employed, reflecting the fact that shoppers will be able to complete a full weekly shop there.

The conversion programme, which will start in the first quarter of 2011, is expected to be completed by this time next year.

Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda said: “I’m proud to say next year we will once again create thousands of new jobs at every level of our growing business.”

“Through a combination of opening new stores, extending existing ones, converting Netto stores, and continuing to expand our grocery home shopping service we will create 7,500 new roles throughout the country. We also currently have nearly 3,000 vacancies on our jobs website.”

In 2011 the supermarket is also set to increase the number of fully qualified pharmacists it employs by around 10%, creating an additional 32 posts. Asda currently operates 205 in-store pharmacies nationwide, but next year plans to open a further 16.

Asda will also share a £16m festive bonus with its staff, including a ‘Christmas Thank You’ package, including a £20 Asda gift card, free festive meal, and 20% discount on a range of Asda products. It will be available to each of Asda’s 175,000 staff, and more than 10,000 seasonal workers.

Asda executive people director Chet Kuchinad said: “The Christmas Thank You rewards and recognises the exceptional level of service that our colleagues provide our customers throughout the year. We are really proud of the hard work and the difference that each of our colleagues make, particularly in the run up to our busiest time of year.”