Morrisons has announced plans to create 7,000 jobs next year through a mixture of store openings and the growth of its manufacturing and logistics arms.

There are currently more than six million households that do not have a Morrisons within easy driving distance and the retailer plans to open 25 new stores in 2012 as it expands into areas it currently doesn’t have a presence in.

Many of the new jobs would be in skilled areas such as butchery, bakery and fishmongery, said Morrisons. Typically, more than half the employees at a new store would previously have been unemployed and 75% would be local, it claimed. Not all of the new jobs will be with Morrisons itself, however, as it encourages its building suppliers to employ local people as well.

About 300 of the jobs will be created at its new South West RDC in Bridgwater, Somerset, which will supply much of Morrisons’ South West and South Wales estate.

Although it did not reveal any new details regarding the expansion of its fresh food manufacturing business, it said it aimed to further develop its capability over the next 12 months.

“Morrisons continues to have ambitious growth plans and that means we will be searching for people to join us in the communities in which we operate,” said group HR director Norman Pickavance.

“At a time when the number of young and long-term unemployed continues to rise, we will provide opportunities for many people and help them build a career in retailing.”