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Aldi UK to invest £1.3b as profits rise

[LONDON] The British arm of German discount supermarket group Aldi said on Monday it would invest £1.3 billion (S$2.28 billion) over the next two years as it reported a 49 per cent 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 for 2019, up from £195.6 million in 2018, on total sales up 8 per cent to £12.3 billion. It said margins improved, with efficiencies of scale offsetting price cuts.

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Aldi has grown its market share to 8 per cent 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.

REUTERS

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