SUPERMARKET chiefs say they have already been getting calls from Wearsiders desperate to work at a planned new store.
Sainsbury’s and developer Terrace Hill are planning to build a new supermarket on the site of the Jennings Ford dealership in Riverside Road, North Hylton.
Small traders and some residents in the area fear it will devastate community shops, but the development team has stressed it wishes to complement, not obliterate, existing businesses.
The store is expected to create 450 jobs and Paul Miller, representing Sainsbury’s, said inquiries for the posts had already been coming in.
He said: “We’re not surprised to see this level of interest in jobs at the store, even though it is a little bit early.
“We’ve had to disappoint a few people because we are still in the planning stage of the development.
“Sainsbury’s in-store roles are frequently over-subscribed, and should we achieve planning consent we expect there to be a large amount of interest in jobs at the store.”
He added: “Our in-store colleagues tend to come from the area around the store, so this would be a genuine boost to north Sunderland.
“Unfortunately, we can’t accept applications for this store yet, but anybody interested in starting a career with Sainsbury’s should check our website at www.sainsburys.co.uk.”
Sunderland City Council is expected to make a decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for the development later this month. Sainsbury’s hope to open in Riverside Road by the end of 2012.
Mr Miller said the supermarket chain is, however, already set to create 85 jobs with the extension to its store in Silksworth, where work is scheduled to start soon.
Sainsbury’s also took on an extra 40 staff after an expansion of its site in Washington.
Mr Miller said: “Of course, unemployment is an issue we are facing across the country at the moment, and as a business we’re proud to create the amount of jobs that we do.
“These are jobs that help our colleagues develop, learn new skills and gain a nationally recognised qualification.”
He added that the firm was also looking at expanding its work with Jobcentre Plus to provide additional help to former military personnel looking to start a new career.
The 60,000 sq ft store in Riverside Road will offer Sainsbury’s full range of goods, including homeware and TU Clothing.
Jennings plans to relocate to another site in north Sunderland, keeping its 100 existing jobs at the dealership.