Asda, the UK unit of US retail giant Wal-Mart, has announced that it will be creating 7,000 jobs in 2009.

The retailer has also committed to recruiting 3,000 long-term unemployed for existing vacancies.

"This year we will create 7,000 new jobs at a time when many companies are having to lay people off. We will also be helping 3,000 long-term unemployed get back into work by specifically targeting them for existing vacancies in our business," Asda CEO Andy Bond said.

The supermarket will create 3,700 new jobs throughout the UK with the opening of nine new food stores, five new non-food Asda Living outlets and the extension of 15 existing stores.

In total, ASDA will create 580,000 sq ft of new store space in 2009.

In addition, 2,000 new jobs will be created through the expansion of its home shopping business and a further 1,000 positions through organic growth.

The company added that it would continue to invest in its speciality business by creating 120 new roles in Asda pharmacies and optical centres.

The moves from Asda, the UK's second-largest grocer, follow news of new jobs at each of its main rivals.

Earlier this month, Morrisons said it would create 5,000 new jobs. Tesco, the country's largest grocer, said it would create 10,000 new positions, while Sainsbury's said it would look to create 2,000 plus jobs in the next year.