Aldi’s has announced plans to invest £1.3bn in the UK over the next two years as it reported a 49 per cent increase in profit for 2019.
The German discount supermarket said it would open 100 new stores in the UK in 2020 and 2021, sticking to its target of 1,200 stores by 2025.
Aldi, now Britain’s fifth largest supermarket chain, also announced plans to create a further 4,000 jobs next year. This is on top of 3,000 new roles created in 2020, as grocery sales surged during the coronavirus pandemic.
The group reported an operating profit of £291.2m for 2019, up from £195.6m the previous year, with margins improving as efficiencies of scale offsetting price cuts. Total sales rose eight per cent to £12.3bn.
While Aldi has grown its market share to eight per cent over the last decade due to an aggressive programme of store openings, industry data has shown its share edge lower during the pandemic, hindered in particular by a lack of online capability.
This has prompted the supermarket to accelerate its push into home delivery so it can benefit from the jump in demand for online grocery shopping that is expected to endure beyond the current crisis.
Aldi launched a click and collect offering last week, and is set to trial a rapid delivery service with Deliveroo.
“With the UK’s economic outlook increasingly uncertain, families are more concerned about their grocery bills than ever,” said Aldi UK chief executive Giles Hurley.
“We’ve seen before that our customers need us most in times of financial hardship,which is why our commitment to remain Britain’s lowest-priced supermarket is more important than ever,” he continued.
Hurley said that the supermarket’s response to the challenges caused by the pandemic had been “both heroic and historic”, adding that the supermarket’s staff and suppliers “rose to the challenge of feeding the nation with tremendous skill and courage, whilst the British public displayed remarkable patience and compassion”.