Xmas recruitment push kicks off

Argos will recruit more staff than ever in the run-up to Christmas in an attempt to stay one step ahead of competition.

With 113 shopping days to go, the catalogue store group has drawn up plans to hire 22,000 temporary staff - 5 per cent more than last year.

The figure is equivalent to a doubling of staff numbers over the three-month period.

Asda will call its army of 8,000 seasonal workers back into stores to help cope with the surge in customers.

Asda's seasonal staff are, in effect, permanent employees contracted to cover peak holiday periods.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said it expects to take on a similar number to the 10,000 drafted in last year.

Meanwhile, mail order and Internet retailer Shop Direct, owned by the Barclay brothers, has already launched an early recruitment push for its call centres in Preston. The retailer has contracted recruitment chain Adecco to hire 165 temporary workers.

A spokesman for Shop Direct said the retailer had cut staff numbers at its call centres earlier in the year.

He said: 'We have been looking at managing the service levels to better cope with seasonal peaks in demand.'

Shops Direct's early recruitment push reflects the need for distance sellers to cope with earlier festive deadlines than those of bricks-and-mortar retailers.