Sainsbury's is creating up to 20,000 jobs over the Christmas and New Year period and plans to make at least 1,000 of the contracts permanent.

The retailer said it was hiring 8,000 more recruits than last year to work at its 817 stores in its biggest ever recruitment drive.

"Last year nearly 23 million shoppers visited Sainsbury's stores in the week before Christmas and the huge numbers of customers means that our in store colleagues always have something different to do. In exchange for their hard work we offer successful candidates flexible working hours and a competitive salary," said Sainsbury's director of retail HR Helen Webb.

The seasonal staff will start at the end of November and the roles include operating the tills, replenishing the shelves and assisting the online delivery teams as they get ready to deliver Christmas shopping to shoppers, she added.