Aldi rolls out investment plans amid record sales

Aldi's British arm has booked record sales. Picture: Contributed

Aldi's British arm has booked record sales. Picture: Contributed

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The UK arm of Aldi has said it will invest £300 million in store revamps after posting another year of record sales, although profits were again hit by the supermarket price war.

The cash will be used to spruce up its fixtures for beers, wines and spirits and fresh produce, as well as a new “food to go” feature, with more than 100 stores to be refurbished in 2017.

Chief executive Matthew Barnes said the move was the result of a “listening exercise” involving more than 50,000 shoppers.

The German-owned firm added that it will open 70 stores in the UK next year as part of plans to increase supermarket numbers from 659 to 1,000 by 2022.

Sales grew by 12 per cent to £7.7 billion in 2015, with Aldi doubling its turnover in just three years.

Operating profits dipped 1.8 per cent to £255.6m, which the firm put down to its “continued investment in prices”.

Aldi said its future capital expenditure plans are “unaffected” by the UK’s decision to quit the EU, pledging to make “substantial investments”, including enlarging two existing distribution sites, redeveloping its UK head office in Atherstone, Warwickshire, and opening a new distribution centre in Cardiff next year.

Barnes said: “During the past five years we have invested close to £1.7bn in the UK by opening more stores than any other supermarket and enhancing our distribution capabilities.

“Our future capital expenditure plans are unchanged – we will continue to make significant investments in our business, paying our employees more than any other supermarket.”

Meanwhile, Aldi said today that its search for Scotland’s “next top product” had returned for a second year following its successful debut in 2015.

The search, which opens on Tuesday, will help Aldi uncover “new and exciting products that will be a hit with Scottish shoppers”.

The winning food or drink product will follow in the footsteps of last year’s twin winners, Argo’s Orkney Caramel Shortbread and Cobbs Chocolate Brownies, due to launch in all 67 Scottish stores as part of a deal worth more than £175,000.

Graham Nicolson, group buying director for Aldi Scotland, said: “The search for Aldi’s Next Top Product is a fantastic opportunity to discover new exceptional food and drink businesses from all over the country and give them the opportunity to compete with long-established brands.
“Given the success of 2015’s search, we’ve brought it back again this year to give more Scottish producers the chance to secure their big break. We’re looking forward to receiving application forms from a wide range of producers.”

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