Friday 21 August 2020 3:40 pm

Retailer AO to create 650 new jobs due to 'sustained' surge in online shopping

Online electricals store AO will create 650 new UK jobs as it ramps up growth plans following a sustained surge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The firm said it is preparing for “significant growth” after it saw an influx of customers shopping online during the Covid-19 crisis.

Read more: UK retail sales climb above pre-pandemic levels in July

The new roles will bolster AO’s 3,000-strong team, and will be created across AO’s retail, mobile, tech, financial services and logistics divisions. 

Among the new jobs, AO is seeking gas engineers, software developers, a fridge recycling shift coordinator and a TikTok expert.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated changing customer behaviour, with more consumers shopping online due to restrictions on movement and the closure of non-essential retailers. 

AO said it had seen “five years of change within five weeks”.

Read more: AO World revenue surges as customers continue online shopping post-lockdown

The retailer expects the shift to online to be “sustained” rather than a short spike during the UK coronavirus lockdown. 

The company said yesterday that year-on-year revenue in the UK jumped 58.9 per cent to £401.3m and 91.5 per cent to €74.3m (£67m) in Germany for the four months ended 31 July.

The rapid move towards online shopping, and the closure of physical stores, has seen high street retailers scramble to refocus their businesses.

Thousands of high street jobs have already been cut, with John Lewis, Boots and M&S among the big retailers to announce redundancies. 

AO will hire new staff across the UK in locations including Manchester, Bolton, Telford, Thatcham and Crew, as well as home-working positions. 

AO founder and chief executive John Roberts, said: “AO went into Covid-19 fit and focused on the future.  

Read more: Retail bosses square up in £6.5bn bidding war for Asda

“The pandemic accelerated a shift in customer behaviour towards online shopping – we saw five years’ change in five weeks. We now have the opportunity to make AO a habit that lasts for our new customers.

“We’re investing to cement the change and prepare for our next phase of growth which includes creating hundreds of new, high quality jobs for a diverse range of talented people.”