LONDON: Online retail giant Amazon is ramping up its expansion plans for Europe by announcing on Friday that it will hire thousands more staff for its European warehouse network and its research and development centres.

Amazon said it had created 10,000 jobs in Europe last year, taking its European workforce to more than 40,000, and that more than €15bn (£11.5bn) had been invested in its European infrastructure and operations since 2010.

That included £4.6bn in the UK, where at least 2,500 new permanent staff will be taken on to work in its ten warehouses, its three R&D centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London, as well as its new head office in London, the BBC reported.

Xavier Garambois, vice president, Amazon EU retail, said: "We are seeing stronger demand than ever from our customers all across Europe, and we see lots more opportunity across Amazon's businesses to invent and invest for the future."

As well as expanding its European network of warehouses – known as fulfilment centres – Amazon also plans to increase its investment in R&D and build infrastructure to support its cloud-computing business.

The development marks the latest challenge that Amazon is throwing down to established retailers since it first entered the UK market in 1998.

It saw record Christmas trading at the end of last year and piled on the pressure on UK supermarkets in November last year with a nationwide launch of a groceries service for Amazon Prime subscribers. There are reports that it plans to expand the service as well as its pantry services.

"Britain has a world-class tech sector with a reputation for innovation and excellence," said Christopher North, managing director of Amazon UK.

"These new jobs we are creating up and down the country are testament to the quality of the workforce in the UK and our confidence in the economy, which we are proud to support through our continued investments."

Data sourced from BBC, Reuters; additional content by Warc staff