Aldi to create 2,000 new jobs and open 100 new stores

Discount grocer Aldi is to create more than 2,000 new jobs next year as part of a £1.3bn investment in the UK over the next two years.

As part of its forward investment plans, Aldi said it will expand its retail estate with 100 new stores across the UK over the next two years.

The new jobs are in addition to the 7,000 roles created over the last two years.

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The discount supermarket chain made the investment announcement as it revealed sales soared 10 per cent in the UK and Ireland in 2020 to £12.3bn.

Giles Hurley, chief executive for Aldi UK and Ireland

The number of customers during the period increased from 17.6 million to 17.8 million, although pre-tax profits fell 2.5 per cent to £264.8m.

No details on trading in the first nine months of 2021 were immediately provided.

Whilst other UK-based supermarkets give more regular updates on current trading, Aldi is not obliged to and is instead publishing last year’s results as it files its accounts with Companies House.

Giles Hurley, chief executive for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “Whilst 2020 was an extremely challenging year, our 41,000 colleagues stepped up when it mattered most - their dedication to the communities they serve has been nothing short of remarkable.

"Despite some of the most difficult conditions our sector has ever seen, our people underlined the strength, success and spirit of our business.

“As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600m in stores and distribution centres across the UK.

“This helped to create thousands of much-needed jobs and support for British farmers and manufacturers.

“Whilst the cost of responding to the pandemic dampened profits, our decision to return business rate relief was the right thing to do.”

Aldi repaid the business rates saved from the Government’s scrapping of the tax during the pandemic, following similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Lidl.

Looking forward, the supermarket announced that click and collect services have been rolled out to 200 stores, offering shoppers the chance to order online for the first time – although home deliveries are still not available.

A new checkout-free store is also planned in Greenwich, London, it said.

As part of the £1.3bn investment over the next two years, Aldi will open 100 new stores. It currently has 920 stores.

The expansion of its logistics infrastructure includes a new 1.3 million sq ft site in Leicestershire.

There was no initial mention by Aldi of any supply chain issues or suggestions of price inflation, although the company said it had reduced prices to the tune of £238m last year.

Mr Hurley said: “We’re continuing to gain even more customers - with over 60 per cent of households shopping with Aldi in the last year.

"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, which sources its entire core range of fresh meat, eggs, milk, butter and cream from British suppliers, said it had spent an extra £1bn with UK companies last year, taking its total to £9bn, as it reaffirms its commitment to buy British wherever possible.

Underlining its commitment to quality, Aldi said it had already reformulated around half of its range to improve product quality this year whilst introducing hundreds of new products in line with changing consumer tastes, such as the winner of its Grow with Aldi spirits competition, Penrhos Limited Edition - Hibiscus Botanical Gin, and a new range of British fish including Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, British Hake and Cornish Sardines.

Earlier this year, Aldi said it maintained its position as the UK’s best-paying supermarket by increasing the minimum hourly rates for store colleagues, exceeding the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended ‘real living wage’.

The group has also pledged to halve the volume of plastic packaging it uses by 2025 by removing over two billion pieces of plastic from circulation. In April, it launched a trial at its Ulverston store in Cumbria selling its first packaging-free products to help customers shop more sustainably.

The supermarket, which has been an official sponsor of Team GB since 2015, also praised its Ambassadors who competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, saying they helped inspire the nation to eat healthily.

Aldi’s Get Set to Eat Fresh programme, which provides free materials for teachers and parents to support young people to develop their understanding and love of fresh, healthy food, has reached over two million children.

As part of its Better Everyday programme, Aldi also donated more than one million meals to people in need during the school summer holidays by working alongside local charities, community groups and food banks. The programme forms part of its commitment to donate 10 million meals across the country in 2021 in partnership with community giving platform Neighbourly.