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Marks & Spencer has launched a recruitment drive to appoint 10,000 customer service assistants for its stores over the Christmas trading period.

It represents a more than 40% jump on the figure from a year ago and reflected the additional investment the group is making in colleague hours to support customers on the shop floor, M&S said.

The group added that Christmas colleagues - who will join from 19 November - also played an “integral role” in delivering the Christmas ‘Food to Order’ service.

Operations director Sacha Berendji said: “Our fantastic store colleagues play such a big part in delivering the magic of M&S at Christmas to our customers.

“And this year we’re recruiting even more colleagues to ensure there’s always someone on hand to offer support and recommendations.

“The Christmas period is a busy but exciting time for M&S and no two days are the same – in fact, many colleagues started their M&S careers at Christmas and have since gone onto progress across the business. With a range of roles and flexible working patterns available, anyone who is interested in being part of something special this Christmas should visit our careers website to apply.”

The customer service assistant roles will span both food and clothing & home across the UK, with vacancies in every store.

Morning update

The FTSE 100 opened flat this morning at 7,602.28pts.

Early risers included Bakkavor, up 3.3% to 94p, Nichols, up 3% to 916.3p, THG, up 2.6% to 67.3p, and Greencore, up 1.6% to 90.3p.

Deliveroo fell sharply by 5.3% to 118.5p, while Ocado is down 4% to 509.8p, Naked Wines is down 2.7% to 47.6p, McBride is down 2.4% to 31.6p and Hotel Chocolat is down 1.5% to 140.4p.

This week in the City

Tomorrow morning kicks off with the latest grocery sales figures from Nielsen IQ.

The ONS publishes the latest inflation figures for the UK on Wednesday.

Food delivery firms Just Eat Takeaway and Deliveroo both update the market this week, with the former due out on Wednesday and the latter on Thursday.

The latest run of quarterly results from the CPG global powerhouses begin again this week, with Procter & Gamble scheduled for Wednesday and Nestlé, Pernod Ricard and Philip Morris on Thursday.

Embattled Naked Wines follows up its recent much-delayed annual results with interims on Friday morning, while the monthly GfK consumer confidence index and ONS retail sales figures for September are also released.