German retailer Aldi to invest US$1.8B to expand presence in Britain

UK – Aldi will invest 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in its British and Irish business over the next two years as it attempts to accelerate its growth in market share. 

The company, now Britain’s fifth largest supermarket, plans to use the funds to open another 100 new stores in Britain in addition to expanding its logistics infrastructure and enhancing its technology capabilities.  

Aldi UK, which has over 920 stores, including 48 stores within the M25, has around 38,000 employees and is led by Giles Hurley. 

It plans to launch 2,000 new roles, adding to 7000 permanent jobs it said it has already created over the last two years. 

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The firm gave the update as it published annual results that showed how UK and Ireland’s sales increased 10.2% to £13.5 billion during the pandemic. 

Although sales climbed in the year to December 2020, pre-tax profit declined 2.5% to £264.8 million. The retailer however said the decline was due to investment in pricing and “the cost of responding to the pandemic”. 

“We’re continuing to gain even more customers – with over 60% of households shopping with Aldi in the last year,” Hurley said. 

“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.” 

Aldi and German rival Lidl have grown rapidly over the last decade, forcing Britain’s big four supermarkets of Tesco, Sainsbury’s Asda, and Morrisons to cut prices and compete more aggressively. 

However, Aldi’s market share edged lower during the COVID-19 pandemic, partly due to a lack of a significant online business.  

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The company has however responded to the weakness by accelerating its push into home delivery via a partnership with Deliveroo. 

 It has also introduced a click-and-collect service that’s now live in 200 stores and is trialling a checkout-free concept store in Greenwich, southeast London. 

Earlier this month, Aldi opened 7 stores in Poland as it plans to reach a milestone of 200 outlets across the country by the end of the year.  

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