Supermarkets led by Wal-Mart’s Asda have set out plans to create thousands of jobs as the UK’s food retailers show they are weathering the economic storm better than their non-food counterparts.

Asda, the country’s second-biggest supermarket group, said it would create 7,000 jobs this year – in line with expectations – with nine new food stores, five new “Living” stores selling furniture and homewares, and a number of extensions to existing sites.

Andy Bond, chief executive of Asda, said: “This year we will create 7,000 new jobs at a time when many companies are having to lay people off.”

The chain said it would use local employment partnerships, which are joint ventures with the government, and Remploy, a recruitment agency for the disabled, to try to fill 3,000 existing roles.

Financial Times