Aldi, Britain’s lowest-priced and favourite supermarket, has pledged to invest £1.3 billion over the next two years (2022-2023) in a bid to further accelerate its share of the UK grocery market.
The plans are expected to create more than 2,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 7,000 permanent roles already created over the past two years.
In its annual trading update, Aldi said sales in the UK and Ireland had grown 10.2% to a record £13.5 billion in the year to 31st December 2020 (2019: £12.3 billion). Latest data shows Aldi is attracting more new shoppers through its doors than any other supermarket with a UK market share of 8.1%***.
Aldi, which has returned its business rate relief in full to HM Treasury, said profits had been dampened by its continued investment in price and the cost of responding to the pandemic, citing that it had “put people before profits” and focused on feeding the nation.
As part of its forward investment plans, Aldi said it would continue to grow its retail estate with 100 new stores across the UK over the next two years, as well as expanding its logistics infrastructure, including a new 1.3 million sq ft site in Leicestershire.
Further investment is being made into Aldi’s popular click and collect service and technology initiatives to support further growth.
This includes trialling a new Aldi checkout-free concept store in Greenwich, London, which will use a system of cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to identify the items customers take from shelves, alleviating the need to go through a checkout.
The supermarket, which has over 920 UK stores, said that offering its customers the lowest possible prices remains its number one focus, and it is committed to helping ease financial pressures on household budgets. Last year alone, it made price reductions worth £238m.
According to The Grocer magazine, a basket of 33 everyday items showed the Big Four are, on average, 23% more expensive than Aldi, whilst Good Housekeeping Institute readers voted Aldi as the UK’s favourite supermarket for the third year running.
Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer 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.”
“We’re continuing to gain even more customers – with over 60% 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 £1 billion with UK companies last year, taking its total to £9 billion, 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 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. So far 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 foodbanks. The programme forms part of its commitment to donate 10 million meals across the country in 2021 in partnership with community giving platform Neighbourly.
*Group figures comprise UK & Ireland
**Source: Kantar Worldpanel data, 52 weeks to 27 December 2020
***Kantar Worldpanel data, 12 weeks to 5 September 2021
****The Grocer 33 price survey, published 24 September 2021
Aldi is calling on streets across the UK to enter a competition to win funding for the ultimate Jubilee bash.
The supermarket’s Jubilee Street Party Fund will see it give away a series of £500 Aldi vouchers to help communities up and down the country celebrate Her Majesty’s big day.
Aldi is to work with an African cashew nut company Cashew Coast to empower female factory workers and farmer communities in the Ivory Coast, as well as encourage more environmentally friendly nut production.
The company sources nuts directly from local farmers in the Ivory Coast and processes them, by employing women from nearby communities.