UK supermarket chain Asda is creating 1,250 warehouse and driver jobs and building two new distribution centres.

The group explained that the growth was prompted by increasing customer demand. It includes 500 new warehouse jobs and 200 new drivers in 21 distribution centres across the UK; 250 jobs at a new general merchandise distribution centre in Lutterworth – opening this month; 300 jobs at a new clothing distribution centre – opening in September.

The company’s distribution centres will also go through the Breakthrough programme this year. Breakthrough, which has already rolled out to all 253 Asda stores, brings the power of Wal-Mart systems to the sharp end of the supply chain.

Nineteen food and general merchandise distribution centres will have converted to Wal-Mart systems by the end of October 2002. Benefits will include better sales forecasting and greater accuracy of store orders which will convert to better availability on the shop floor.

“We’re sending out more product than we had planned every single week and there’s no sign of the pace letting up,” said distribution director David Gibbons.

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ASDA currently employs 120,000 people and a recent survey conducted by the Sunday Times found the grocer voted as the UK’s “Number One Company to Work” for.