Aldi’s extra 1m customers help double profits

Kasmira Jefford
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DISCOUNT supermarket chain Aldi said yesterday it more than doubled its profits in the UK last year, as it lured more than a million shoppers from more upmarket rivals and grabbed a bigger share of the market.

The German group, which will open its 500th UK store next month, posted a pre-tax profit of £157.9m in 2012, up 124 per cent on 2011, while revenue rose 40.6 per cent to £3.9bn.

The group has been stepping up its expansion across the UK and spent £116.5m last year opening 34 new stores, targeting more affluent locations such as Knutsford and Winchester.

It plans to invest a further £185m this year opening 50 new stores, creating almost 6,000 extra jobs.

It has also doubled the size of its range and plans to lure families this Christmas by offering premium products such as a luxury Serrano ham leg and lobster.

Aldi has become the UK’s fastest growing supermarket, according to Kantar data, putting pressure on the big four food retailers.

It now controls 3.7 per cent of the market, although this is still only a fraction of market leader Tesco’s 30.2 per cent share.

“We are continuing to open stores right across the country, attracting more people and a broader demographic to Aldi,” co-managing director Matthew Barnes said.

He attributed the retailer’s strong growth to its focus on locally-produced British food, such as milk and eggs. Fresh meat sales have risen by over 60 per cent year-on-year for the last three consecutive years, the firm says, while fruit and vegetable sales rose by 50 per cent in 2012.