Asda, the UK's second biggest supermarket, on January 23 announced that the retailer will invest over £500 million and open 24 stores and three depots this year. The move will create 5,000 jobs within the country.

The expansion plan includes revamping its 43 existing stores. The retailer currently employs over 180,000 people in its 528 stores across the UK.

The news of job creation amid economic gloom was welcomed by the Prime Minister David Cameron.

"The additional investment and 5,000 new jobs announced by Asda today will be a real boost for the economy and more importantly for people around Britain seeking jobs," Cameron said as he welcomed Asda's latest announcement.

"I also welcome Asda's commitment to not only create jobs but invest in their staff too - offering employees the chance to join an apprenticeship scheme to gain skills which will benefit them throughout their career."

Last year the chain was responsible for creating 30,000 jobs when it opened about a dozen of stores and amalgamated 147 Netto stores (Danish supermarket chain) following its acquisition.