Sainsbury's UK-wide expansion drive offers jobs boost for region
Northern Ireland could be in line for new jobs as a result of a UK-wide expansion by supermarket giant Sainsbury's.
The firm, which has close to 900 stores across the UK and currently employs 150,000 people, said it plans to create 20,000 posts in the next three years, and has already promised to create 6,500 jobs this year.
There are 12 stores in Northern Ireland employing around 3,000 people. The new jobs follow the creation of 13,000 posts created in the last two years.
Chief executive Justin King said the posts would "provide a huge boost to communities across the UK".
He said new employees could also benefit from training and development opportunities, including apprenticeships
The company is also the UK's third biggest supermarket and tenth largest clothing retailer.
The new posts will be both part-time and full-time posts.
A spokesman for Sainsbury's in Northern Ireland said that the region could be in line for at least some of the new jobs, but he could not put a figure on the announcement as yet.
"We are looking to expand in areas where we feel Sainsbury's is under-represented - this includes Northern Ireland," added the spokesman.
"We have already made a firm commitment to the region with 12 stores and three additional stores in the planning process which could bring the number of employees here from 3,000 to in the region of 4,000.
"We also source £250m worth of products from more than 100 local suppliers, helping to support businesses across Northern Ireland."
The three new stores are at Crescent Link in Londonderry, a former Co-op in Carrickfergus and a new premises in Bangor.