Aldi is poised to create thousands of jobs as it confirmed a wave of new store openings following record revenues of more than £10 billion in the UK and Ireland.
The supermarket chain announced plans to open 130 more UK stores over the next two years, creating 5,000 jobs and helping it progress toward a previously declared target of 1,000 shops by 2022.
The German grocer’s network will be supported by extending its existing distribution centres in Bathgate and Darlington and creating warehouses in Kent, Derbyshire and Bedford.
Aldi’s announcement comes just weeks after competitor Tesco launched its new format Jack’s supermarkets in an attempt to take on its discount store rivals.
Investors will be awaiting news of the early performance of the first two Jack’s stores when Tesco unveils its half-year results later this week. Aldi revealed its plans to increase store numbers and expand its supply network as it reported that sales grew by 16.4 per cent in the UK and Ireland, hitting a record £10.2bn in 2017.
Its full-year operating profit rose 26 per cent to £265.9 million.
Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, said the supermarket’s plans for investment were proof of its “continued commitment to growing responsibly in the UK”.
“That means having a positive and lasting impact on the economies where we operate and improving the lives of British people,” he added.
“In 2020, Aldi will have been serving British shoppers for 30 years. In that time, we’ve become part of the fabric of British life. We’re proud to be reaffirming our commitment today.”
Aldi outlined plans to expand its range of British suppliers, who already account for its core range of eggs, milk, butter and fresh meat.
The supermarket said it currently spends more than £100m each week with some 1,000 local suppliers.
Aldi has become Britain’s fifth largest supermarket with 775 stores, having attracted a further 1.1 million shoppers last year.
The supermarket now accounts for 7.6 per cent of all UK grocery store spending, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.
Along with its German discounter peer Lidl, Aldi has eaten into the market share of Britain’s so-called “big four” supermarkets.
Hurley said: “Savvy customers know they can swap and save with Aldi, thanks to great quality products at lower prices.
“This is happening on a massive scale, with more than 1.1 million new customers shopping with us throughout 2017.
“While other grocers introduced more complexity into their businesses in their struggle to win back customers, we stuck to our guns and focused on doing what Aldi does best - buying smart, staying lean, improving quality and keeping prices low.”