Tesco is looking to hire 3,000 drivers to help meet the growing trend for online food shopping triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

The move is part of a wider recruitment drive to hire 16,000 staff to help with the supermarket giant's online growth plans.

Since the pandemic lockdown, Tesco has seen online sales leap from around 9% to 16% of total sales.

Tesco is now serving 1.5m customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the outbreak. It predicts the sector will be worth over £5.5bn this year, up from £3.3bn last year.

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The majority of the 16,000 roles are expected to be filled by staff who joined on a temporary basis at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and who now want to stay with the business permanently.

The roles will include 10,000 pickers to assemble customer orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, along with a variety of other roles in stores and distribution centres.

According to market researcher Kantar Online, food shopping surged during the pandemic, but slowed down in the 12 weeks ended 9 August as shopping habits eased back towards normality after months of lockdown.

Jason Tarry, Tesco's UK and Ireland chief executive, said: "These new roles will help us continue to meet online demand for the long term, and will create permanent employment opportunities for 16,000 people across the UK."