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The UK and Irish arm of German discounter Aldi grew annual sales by 16.4% last year to £10.2bn and has pledged to open a further 130 stores over the next two years.

Aldi currently has 775 UK stores in the UK and the supermarket said this investment in new stores keeps it “firmly on course” to hits its target of 1,000 stores by 2022.

Together with investment regional distribution centres, the new stores will create 5,000 new jobs over two years.

During the year to 31 December 2017, Aldi UK and Ireland also grew operating profits by 26% to £265.9m as operating margin improved from 2.4% to 2.6%.

Aldi’s sales topped £10bn as it attracted 1.1 million more customers during the year to 15.8 million people.

Chief Executive Giles Hurley commented: “While other grocers introduced more complexity into their businesses in their struggle to win back customers, we stuck to our guns and focused on doing what Aldi does best – buying smart, staying lean, improving quality and keeping prices low.

“”Our future investment plans underline our continued commitment to growing responsibly in the UK. That means having a positive and lasting impact on the economies where we operate and improving the lives of British people.

”Our fundamental purpose remains - to bring outstanding quality groceries at the lowest prices for our customers, creating jobs and supporting British farming and manufacturing.”

Morning update

Consumer brands investor Inverleith LLP has announced it has taken a majority stake in London-based health-focussed retail chain Planet Organic.

Inverleith has injected funds into the company to expand the existing store footprint in London, more than doubling its current portfolio of stores over the next 5 years.

Planet Organic currently has seven stores across London, while delivering nationwide through its retail website and offering collect in store service for the communities near the London stores.

Ben Thomson, chairman of Inverleith LLP commented: “This is an interesting time of change for the High Street with shoppers wanting more community-based shopping. Consumers are looking for an experience when they shop and for real knowledge about the products offered. They care deeply about the quality and provenance of products they buy and increasingly search for items which help them lead a holistic healthy lifestyle.

“Planet Organic is the original, oldest and best organic supermarket chain in the UK. It has a fantastic depth of knowledge and heritage in food, beauty and health. Shoppers can sit in, enjoying healthy smoothies, juices and have a bite to eat, they can take food away or they can shop for food, health and beauty products.

“This is the sort of shopping that is the future of the high street and we are pleased to be helping Planet Organic to open in other locations around London”.

Elsewhere, under pressure French supermarket giant Casino Guichard-Perrachon (CO) has announced the disposal of €565m of real estate assets.

The hypermarket has signed an agreement with an unnamed investor to sell 55 Monoprix real-estate assets as it seeks to bolster its balance sheet.

The asset sales are part of a wider €1.5bn disposal plan of non-core assets unveiled by Casino in June to reduce debt.

Casino added it has “already received additional indicative offers on other assets that are included in the disposal plan, which could materialize before the end of the year.”

The group also confirmed its full-year guidance, stating that it expects its retail trading profit in France to improve this year at a similar pace to that of its 2018 financial year.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has opened the week flat at 7,507.9pts.

Early risers include Devro (DVO), up 1.9% to 210p, SSP Group (SSPG), up 1.3% to 733.9p and Applegreen (APGN), up 1.2% to 583p.

Fallers so far include Marks & Spencer (MKS), down 1.7% to 283.8p, Glanbia (GLB), down 1.7% to €14.50, Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), down 1.5% to 334.9p and Ocado (OCDO), down 1% to 890.4p.

This week in the City

It’s a quiet week for calendar news, other than the clear standout event of Tesco’s (TSCO) interim earnings release on Wednesday.

Tesco will post its results for the six months to the end of August on Wednesday, with the addition of Booker – as well as positive summer trading from the heatwave and World Cup – expected to significantly boost pre-tax profits.

Elsewhere, in the US PepsiCo (PEP) will announced its third quarter trading numbers tomorrow, while Costco will issue its full year results on Thursday.

In economic news, the BRC Shop Price Index will be published on Wednesday morning, while this week brings the publication of the monthly PMI figures for manufacturing, construction and services.