Aldi raises British ambitions thanks to Covid-19

Customer disinfected shopping trolley at retailer Aldi entrance in UK
Photo: UAV 4 / Shutterstock.com

Aldi prepares for the second wave of Covid-19 in Britain by hiring 4,000 additional staff. The discounter sees growth potential during the corona crisis and wants to open 100 additional stores.

 

"More needed than ever"

Aldi is investing 1.3 billion pounds (around 1.5 billion euros) in the UK market. On top of the existing 894 stores and more than 36,000 employees, the German supermarket chain wants to create an additional 4,000 jobs and open 100 new stores. Earlier this year, the retailer already hired 3,000 additional employees to cope with high store traffic during the corona crisis.
 

Today, the discounter is the fifth largest player on the British food market, but sees additional potential thanks to the corona crisis. "With the UK’s economic outlook increasingly uncertain, families are more concerned about their grocery bills than ever. We’ve seen before that our customers need us most in times of financial hardship, which is why our commitment to remain Britain’s lowest-priced supermarket is more important than ever," said Giles Hurley, the top executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, to The Guardian.
 

By 2025, the German retailer therefore wants 1,200 stores in the UK. The company is also upgrading more than 100 stores and expanding its warehouses. In addition, the hard-discounter is experimenting with e-commerce for the first time: since last week, a UK branch has been testing a click&collect service and urban delivery trials are underway through Deliveroo.

 

Increasing profit

Last year, Aldi's turnover in the UK and Ireland increased by 8.3%, totalling 12.3 billion pounds (13.6 billion euros) thanks to 18 million customers. The entire market grew by only 1%. It also achieved a pre-tax profit of 271.5 million pounds (300 million euros), an increase of 49% over the previous year. Meanwhile, the chain's market share would have increased further to 8%, making Aldi and Lidl the strongest growers.
 

On the island, however, Aldi Süd has a locally-adapted product range that favours a 'no-compromise model' rather than a hard-discount image. For example, the retailer has revamped around half its range, claiming to improve product quality, and hundreds of new products have been introduced, including British wagyu steak, raspberry gin, vegan pizza and an English rosé wine.