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Tesco to hire 20,000 more UK workers

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March 5, 2012 04:17 AM EST | AP


LONDON — Tesco PLC, Britain's largest grocer, says it will hire 20,000 additional workers in Britain over the next two years as it opens new stores and improves its fresh food offering.

The new hires represent a 7 percent increase on the company's current U.K. workforce of 290,000.

Tesco shares were down half a percent at 316.55 pence following Monday's announcement. At the start of the year, Tesco's share price was trading above 400 pence before a disappointing Christmas trading update.

Tesco said underlying sales – stripping out store openings, expansions and closings – were down 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

Competitors have made some inroads in Tesco's dominant U.K. market share, which now stands at a six-year low of 29.7 percent.