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Aldi UK to open around 100 new stores

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The British arm of German discount supermarket group Aldi said on Monday it would invest 1.3 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) over the next two years as it reported a 49% increase in 2019 profit.

Aldi, Britain’s fifth biggest supermarket group, said it would open around 100 new stores across the United Kingdom over 2020 and 2021 – sticking with its long-term target of 1,200 stores by 2025 despite the impact on shopper behaviour of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also plans over 100 store upgrades, along with investment in distribution centres.

Aldi said it expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 3,000 roles already created in 2020.

The group reported an operating profit of 291.2 million pounds for 2019, up from 195.6 million pounds in 2018, on total sales up 8% to 12.3 billion pounds. It said margins improved, with efficiencies of scale offsetting price cuts.

Aldi has grown its market share to 8% over the last decade thanks to its aggressive store opening programme. However, industry data has shown its share edge lower during the pandemic, hindered in particular by a lack of online capability.

That has prompted Aldi to accelerate its push into home delivery so it can benefit from a jump in demand that is expected to endure beyond the crisis.

In April it started selling online food parcels to help self-isolating and vulnerable customers. It is also ramping-up a rapid delivery service in partnership with Deliveroo and is trialing click-and-collect.

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