Aldi plans to extend its reach across Scotland

Budget supermarket Aldi is pushing ahead with its Scottish expansion plans, opening a further eight stores in the next year to bring its total north of the Border to 72.

The discount retailer, which has benefited as shoppers seek to reduce their grocery bills, also said its number of employees in Scotland is set to reach about 2,500, a 200 per cent increase since 2012.

This comes as it has increased its capital investment in its Scottish store portfolio by more than 40 per cent in the past three years, adding that the 2016 programme “will only add to this”.

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Aldi has also been broadening its range of Scottish-sourced products, having increased this by 30 per cent since 2013. By the end of next year it expects this to grow by a further 10 per cent, resulting in a product range representing 30 per cent of the Scottish sales value.

Additionally the retailer highlighted deals it has secured in the past year with Scottish suppliers.

These include a £250,000 contract with Montrose-based Stirfresh to supply fresh ready-to-cook vegetables, a deal with Campbells of Linlithgow to provide more than 140,000 Scottish salmon fillets, a six-figure agreement with Dean’s of Huntly for shortbread and oat biscuit selections, and a £50,000 contract with Ayrshire-based Skinni Foods to supply health-conscious burgers, sausages and black pudding.

The chain also noted that this year it searched for Scotland’s Next Top Product, giving Scottish businesses a chance to secure their first major supermarket listing. The winner out of more than 100 entries was Orkney Caramel Shortbread from Argo’s Bakery, which won a 12-month listing estimated to be worth more than £175,000.

Richard Holloway, managing director of Aldi in Scotland, said the firm is looking to “grow relationships with existing suppliers and cultivate new ones” in the coming year.

He added: “There is no doubt that Aldi is growing in popularity across the UK, and Scotland is a significant success story in its own right. With new stores opening next year, we’re looking forward to giving even more people the chance to switch to Aldi and save on their weekly shop.”