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Morrisons hires astonishing 45,000 new staff to keep up with coronavirus demand

Supermarket giant Morrisons has said it's hired more than 45,000 new staff as demand for groceries soared in the face of the pandemic.

Overall, it reported an 8.7% rise in sales for the first half of the year, fuel excluded, but profits slipped by 25.3% as it also spend money re-fitting stores and more in response to coronavirus.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: "From the start of the pandemic we stepped up and put the company's assets at the disposal of the country to help feed the nation.

"Morrisons is at the heart of local communities and responded quickly when it mattered most, and we are very grateful for the British public's appreciation of all the vital work our colleagues are doing."

Morrisons adopted a new mission when the the pandemic struck: "To play our full part in feeding the nation - it's more than our job."

To do so it made key changes.

These included deploying Morrisons assets to protect and support staff, customers, local communities, the NHS, smaller suppliers, British farmers and charities.

It also tried new things - store pick, food boxes, doorstep, as well as 'Morrisons on Amazon' and Deliveroo.

To do all that, the supermarked said it's recruited more than 45,000 new and temporary colleagues, while jobs disappeared in many other areas.

And reporting its results to the stock market, chairman Andrew Higginson was full of praise for both new and existing workers.

"I am so proud of all our colleagues, including our leadership team, for the contribution they are making during the Covid-19 crisis," he said.

"From the first days of the virus and lockdown our teams have continued to turn in for work and serve our customers, whatever their own personal concerns.

"It is a tremendous effort, and Morrisons has played a leading role in keeping the nation's food supply open.

"In so doing, we have been able to help customers, colleagues, local communities and other key stakeholders such as the NHS, smaller suppliers, British farmers and charities."

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