Aldi to create 2,000 new jobs and open 100 new stores
Aldi is set to create 2,000 new jobs next year in addition to 7,000 created in the last two years, as part of a £1.3 billion investment drive.
The discount supermarket chain made the investment announcement, which will run for two years, as bosses revealed sales soared 10.2% in the UK and Ireland in 2020 to £12.3 billion.
Meanwhile, the retailer’s chief executive officer Giles Hurley also said it was facing “tighter” product availability, but that it has been able to “insulate” customers from significant shortages or resultant price increases.
“It’s difficult to believe that anyone could be immune from the supply challenges we are seeing, but our business is pretty unique and ultimately well positioned to deal with these issues because of our reduced number of suppliers and smaller range,” he said.
The supermarket chain confirmed it has also seen disruption to supply of some Specialbuy “middle aisle” items, due to production disruption in East Asia because of pandemic restrictions and the impact of shipping.
The group said it has improved pay for its HGV drivers amid sector shortages while there have also been commodity price rises for the firm’s suppliers.
Mr Hurley added that the company cannot say customers will not witness inflation amid these higher costs but committed to staying significantly cheaper than market competitors.
“I don’t think anyone in the market can fairly say that they won’t see inflation but we will always ensure that customers get the lowest prices in Aldi, whatever happens,” he said.
“We are always investing to provide customers with incredible value and believe that this will be our biggest Christmas ever.”
He also stressed that the retailer and its suppliers have not felt an impact from current disruption to fuel supplies, with the firm insisting its depots are fully stocked.
The retailer added that the number of customers during the period increased from 17.6 million to 17.8 million, although pre-tax profits fell 2.5% to £264.8 million.
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.
Mr Hurley said: “As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600 million 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 its 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 £1.3 billion investment over the next two years, bosses said this would include around 100 new stores added to the 920 sites already operating.
The expansion of its logistics infrastructure includes a new 1.3 million sq ft site in Leicestershire.
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