Aldi makes important pledge to millions of cash-strapped households as profits slump

Bosses at supermarket chain Aldi have pledged to prioritise lower prices over short-term profits amid a “worsening” cost-of-living crisis.

The price promise came as the discount grocery business saw its earnings slump significantly last year as it coped with rising costs and investment in pricing.

The UK operation of the German discounter revealed that pre-tax profits fell by 86.5 per cent to £35.7 million in 2021, compared with the year before.

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Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “Preserving our price discount and rewarding our people will always be more important to us than short-term profit. Being privately owned means we can keep our promises even when times are tough.”

The chain also promised it will have the “lowest grocery prices in the UK” as it seeks to support customers facing surging energy and fuel costs.

Aldi has seen a continued growth in customer numbers over the past year as shoppers have sought to keep their grocery bills low. Earlier this month, the retailer overtook Morrisons as the UK’s fourth largest supermarket as a result, according to industry analyst Kantar.

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Aldi, which also competes with German-owned rival Lidl, saw sales increase by 18.7 per cent over the 12 weeks to September 4, compared with the same period last year.

It said it has added 1.5 million extra customers compared with last year as people seek out its discount proposition.

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Aldi launched in the UK about 30 years ago and now has more than 100 outlets in Scotland.

Hurley added: “The cost-of-living crisis is worsening and it’s being felt by millions of households across the UK. It’s in times like these when our customers rely on us the most, which is why we’re focusing on continuing to deliver our longstanding price promise by offering the lowest possible prices in Britain, every single day.”

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The chain also confirmed that it will open 16 more stores over the next 12 weeks as part of its ongoing £1.3 billion expansion plan.

In December, Aldi said it would be investing £24m and creating hundreds more jobs in Scotland during 2022 as it takes its number of stores north of the Border beyond the 100 threshold reached in 2021.

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It added that, since launching in Scotland 30 years ago, it has been focused on growing the number of Scottish suppliers and produce on its shelves. In 2021, it surpassed its target of working with more than 90 such producers and stocking 450 items of locally sourced food and drink, and in coming years aims to up the latter to 500.

The business also said its support for the local brewing industry will continue in 2022 with its Scottish Beer festivals that have already showcased more than 80 Scottish breweries, resulting in £3m in sales for local suppliers.

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In addition, its Supermarket Sweep initiative will again offer support to local foodbanks in 2022 and its Scottish Sports Fund programme will also continue.

Richard Holloway, regional MD for Scotland, said at the time: “We reached a significant milestone with the opening of our 100th Scottish store in 2021 and we are continuing to demonstrate our commitment to further expansion and investment in our Scottish stores.”

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