June 17, 2020 / 11:07 PM / 19 days ago

Parcel delivery firm DPD to hire 6,000 UK workers to meet online retail boom

LONDON (Reuters) - Parcel delivery firm DPD said on Thursday it would create 6,000 new UK-based jobs and increase investment in infrastructure to meet a boom in online shopping caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a possible longer-term shift in retail habits.

DPD said demand for its services had risen even before the UK entered its coronavirus lockdown in March, and had continued while people’s access to shops was restricted.

“We are experiencing the biggest boom in online retailing in the UK’s history,” said Dwain McDonald, Chief Executive of DPD UK.

“We are making this unprecedented investment in our infrastructure and people to ensure we can continue to meet the high levels of demand for our services.”

Among the jobs being created, there will be 2,500 new full-time hires for positions such as in depots and management, and 3,500 new drivers are being recruited.

It will also invest 200 million pounds ($250 million) in its next-day delivery services.

Parcel delivery is one of the few industries which is growing during the economic maelstrom caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain’s economy shrank by a quarter over March and April, and finance minister Rishi Sunak has admitted that unprecedented measures for government to help pay workers’ wages during lockdown will not be enough to avoid job losses.

However, some companies are expanding. Last week broadband firm CityFibre said it would create up to 10,000 new jobs over the next three years.

DPD UK’s McDonald said that elements of the online delivery boom would be permanent, outlasting the pandemic, and that conversations with retailers signalled a significant shift in behaviour in their models.

“It looks like there will remain a much greater reliance on e-commerce in the future - that’s going to be our ‘new normal,’” he said.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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