Aldi growth plans will see 100 more stores and 2,000 jobs as sales soar

Discount supermarket chain Aldi is set to create 2,000 jobs next year in addition to 7,000 created in the last two years, as part of a £1.3 billion investment drive after hailing a surge in sales.

The German-owned group made the investment announcement, which will run for two years, as bosses revealed that sales last year soared 10.2 per cent in the UK and Ireland to a record £13.5 billion.

The number of customers during the period increased from 17.6 million to 17.8 million, although pre-tax profits dipped 2.5 per cent to £264.8 million.

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Giles Hurley, chief executive for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: "As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600m in stores and distribution centres across the UK.

As part of the investment over the next two years, bosses said this would include around 100 stores added to the 920 Aldi sites already operating. Picture: Michael Gillen

"This helped to create thousands of much-needed jobs and support for British farmers and manufacturers.

"Whilst the cost of responding to the pandemic dampened profits, our decision to return business rate relief was the right thing to do."

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Aldi repaid the business rates saved from the UK government's scrapping of the tax during the pandemic, following similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda and German-owned discount peer Lidl.

Looking forward, Aldi announced that its click and collect services have been rolled out to 200 stores, offering shoppers the chance to order online for the first time - although home deliveries are still not available. A new checkout-free store is also planned in Greenwich, London.

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As part of the £1.3bn investment over the next two years, bosses said this would include around 100 stores added to the 920 sites already operating. There was no breakdown of the new locations.

The expansion of its logistics infrastructure includes a new 1.3 million-square-foot site in Leicestershire.

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Hurley added: “Whilst 2020 was an extremely challenging year, our 41,000 colleagues stepped up when it mattered most - their dedication to the communities they serve has been nothing short of remarkable.

“Despite some of the most difficult conditions our sector has ever seen, our people underlined the strength, success and spirit of our business.

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“We’re continuing to gain even more customers - with over 60 per cent of households shopping with Aldi in the last year.

“By redefining the discount supermarket in the UK, creating more places and more ways to shop with us, we are excited to provide millions of new customers with access to Aldi’s award-winning quality and unbeatable value.”

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Bosses pointed to a study by The Grocer magazine which suggested that a basket of 33 everyday items showed that the “big four” operators - Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons - were, on average, 23 per cent more expensive than Aldi, whilst Good Housekeeping Institute readers voted Aldi as the UK’s favourite supermarket for the third year running.

As part of its Better Everyday programme, the chain has donated more than one million meals to people in need during the school summer holidays by working alongside local charities, community groups and foodbanks. The programme forms part of its commitment to donate ten million meals across the country in 2021 in partnership with community giving platform Neighbourly.

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Aldi to open four new stores in Scotland

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