Aldi is set to create 4,000 jobs next year after reporting booming sales and profits.
The discounter also pledged to invest a record £1.3bn over the next two years into new and upgraded stores, distribution centres and further innovations across its business.
Revenues in the UK and Ireland jumped 8.3% to a record £12.3bn in the year ended 31 December 2019 thanks to an influx of new shoppers.
The group, which reported a drop in profits in 2018, also improved margins last year, with efficiencies of scale offsetting continued investment in prices.
Operating profits increased 49% to £291.2m and pre-tax profits were also up 49% to £271.5m.
Aldi, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in the UK this year, said its continued investment in Britain was “recognition for three decades of trust and loyalty” shown by its growing base of loyal customers.
Under its investment plan, Aldi expects to open about 100 new stores across the UK over 2020 and 2021 in line with its long-term target of 1,200 stores by 2025. This is alongside more than 100 store upgrades under its Project Fresh initiative.
Other investments include new and expanded distribution centres and the rollout of recent innovations and developments, including its new click & collect service, which was successfully piloted and launched to customers last week.
The plans are expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 3,000 permanent roles already created in 2020.
Looking ahead, Aldi said its most important commitment to customers was to continue to keep its prices the lowest in the market as household budgets come under greater pressure.
It highlighted the Grocer 33 showing Aldi is on average 14% cheaper than the big four supermarkets.
“For over 30 years, our success has been driven by the ever-increasing number of shoppers who put their trust in Aldi every time they shop with us,” UK CEO Giles Hurley. “This is what enables us to keep investing in Britain – in our products, our prices, our people and in the communities we serve.
“The founding principle of our UK business back in 1990 was to offer a carefully-selected range of great quality products at the lowest prices. Whilst we’re continuing to innovate to give customers an even better experience and greater convenience, our core philosophy remains unchanged.
“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.”
Hurley added the supermarket’s response to the coronavirus outbreak earlier in the year was “heroic and historic”.
“As ever, our 36,000 colleagues and thousands of suppliers rose to the challenge of feeding the nation with tremendous skill and courage, whilst the British public displayed remarkable patience and compassion. If there is a positive to take from the situation, it’s that supermarkets, suppliers and shoppers can overcome the greatest of challenges when we work together.”
Aldi, which sources its entire core range of fresh meat, eggs, milk, butter and cream from British suppliers, said it had spent an extra £1bn with UK companies last year.
Earlier this year, Aldi topped the Groceries Code Adjudicator’s annual GSCOP supplier survey for the seventh successive year.