Discount supermarket chain Aldi UK has seen its festive sales top £1 billion for the first time thanks to Brits snapping up 55 million mince pies over a boozy Christmas period.
UK sales in the four weeks to Christmas Eve topped £1 billion for the first time in the German-owned company’s history, and marked a 7.9 per cent rise on the same period a year earlier.
As well as a record quantity of mince pies, shoppers bought 22 million pigs in blankets, and more than two million Christmas puddings.
The retailer is in a period of major expansion, planning to add more than 300 stores to its portfolio of 874 by the middle of the next decade at it captures more of the market.
Last week, it unveiled plans to open a further six Scottish stores in 2020 as it creates up to 200 jobs.
Two of the new stores will be in Glasgow, on Crown Street in the Gorbals and Gallowgate in Parkhead, with one set to open shortly on Commercial Street in Edinburgh.
The others will be based on Rigg Street in Stewarton, Houstoun Road in Livingston, and Gateside Commercial Park in Haddington.
Aldi UK chief executive Giles Hurley said: “More customers than ever before shopped with us this Christmas because they knew Aldi offered unbeatable value on premium products and the lowest prices on festive essentials.”
Alcohol sales in particular helped boost the supermarket operator’s top line. Shoppers bought 9.2 per cent more beer compared with last Christmas, and sales of Aldi’s Champagne and Prosecco rose by 14 per cent.
The chain’s Specially Selected range and British meats showed growth of almost 8 per cent each.
“Although we saw strong growth across all key categories, sales of our premium Specially Selected range surpassed expectations, as customers snapped up these products for a fraction of the price they would have paid elsewhere,” Hurley added.
According to recent data from Kantar, Aldi’s share of the UK grocery market has rise by 1.2 percentage points to 8 per cent since March 2017, making it the biggest supermarket outside the big four of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
The Co-op has 6.3 per cent of the market, while Lidl and Waitrose have captured 6.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively, according to the latest figures.
Aldi’s announcement on its Scottish growth plans came as the group also revealed that its new £25 million storage and chill facility in Bathgate was set to be fully operational by the end of April.
It is expecting to create an estimated 200 jobs from the Bathgate facility and six new outlets combined, which would take the total Scottish headcount to around 2,800.