British supermarket chain Tesco announced that it will create 16,000 new permanent roles in a bid to support the development of online businesses that have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 16,000 jobs are in addition to the 4,000 permanent jobs which have already been created since the start of the pandemic, said the company on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

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"The roles will include 10,000 pickers to assemble customer orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, plus a variety of other roles in stores and distribution centers," said the company.

Currently, the retail giant serves nearly 1.5 million customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic.

As its online business continues to grow, "the number of new roles may increase further in the coming months," said the company.

Tesco Twitter/Robert Edwards

Meanwhile, before the pandemic, around 9 percent of Tesco's sales were online. The figure is now more than 16 percent of sales, with Tesco expecting online sales of over 5.5 billion pounds (the US $7.2 billion) this year, up from 3.3 billion pounds (the US $4.3 billion) last year.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange as a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, the British retailer employs over 400,000 staff worldwide.