Ocado will recruit almost 2,000 staff before Christmas, but the etailer insisted the recruitment drive has nothing to do with an international deal.

Ocado will recruit almost 2,000 new staff before Christmas, but the etailer insisted the recruitment drive has nothing to do with an international deal.

The online grocer aims to hire 1,798 permanent workers before December, with the majority of vacancies being for delivery drivers. It also wants to bolster its workforce in a host of other departments, including business support, operations, human resources, supply chain, service delivery, customer services, development and engineering and technology and planning.

Ocado has been linked to a deal with French supermarket giant Carrefour after boss Tim Steiner set a target of the end of the year to ink a technology and logistics partnership with an international retailer.

Speaking to Retail Week following a 15.3% rise in retail sales to £252m during its third quarter, the etailer’s finance boss Duncan Tatton-Brown said “we are confident, but we are not certain” of signing a deal and remained “in discussions” with potential overseas partners.

Domestic demand

But Ocado told The Telegraph the raft of new recruits would be hired to cope with growing demand at home, with 700 staff poised to take on roles at the online retailer’s third distribution centre in Andover, which is set to open early next year.

The five-floor, 24,000 sq ft warehouse will be able to process 70,000 orders a week and will be home to 95 delivery vans.

Ocado’s human resources director Julie Markey said:  “We have been rapidly expanding our business across the country. Our new recruits, at all levels, will play a vital role in our business and will be the driving force behind our next stage of development so it’s an exciting time to join us.”