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Aldi has stepped up a price war against its supermarket rivals with a commitment to offering customers the lowest prices in 2022 after reporting its best-ever Christmas.

The discounter managed to improve figures on the bumper 2020 festive season when demand was elevated by a national lockdown and the closure of hospitality venues, with sales growth of 0.4% in December 2021. Sales were also 8.1% higher than in 2019.

Aldi claimed the return of Kevin the Carrot in its Christmas ad campaign helped bring half a million new shoppers to its stores.

CEO Giles Hurley said: “Kevin the Carrot reminded Britain last year that you do not need to be extravagant to be kind, just as you do not need to spend a lot to indulge your family with a little luxury at Christmas.

“As the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket in 2021, our premium ‘Specially Selected’ range notched up its highest-ever sales.”

He added that the beers, wines and spirits range proved popular with customers, and pointed to the ‘Specially Selected’ turkey and English sparkling wine as stand-out products.

“As we look ahead, the top priority for most families this year will be managing their household budgets in the face of rising living costs,” Hurley said.

“As the cheapest supermarket in Britain, Aldi will always offer the lowest prices for groceries, no matter what, and continue to support our British farmers and producers.”

During the run up to Christmas, Aldi sold more than 43 million mince pies, 21 million British pigs-in-blankets and 118 million Brussels sprouts. Its shoppers also bought more than 5.5 million bottles of champagne, sparkling wine and prosecco for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

And the supermarket’s Christmas Food campaign also continued to grow, as it donated 1.8 million meals to local charities, food banks and community groups through its partnership with Neighbourly.

Hurley added: “There’s no doubt that 2021 was a long and difficult year for lots of people, but our amazing colleagues stopped at nothing as they came together to deliver the Christmas that our customers deserved.

“Of course, that is nothing new at Aldi, which is why we have always given our teams Boxing Day off so that they can enjoy the whole of Christmas with those dearest to them. It’s a well-deserved thank you and we look forward to doing exactly the same in 2022.”

Morning update

Elsewhere it is a quiet start to what is looking like a busy week (see below).

The FTSE 100 opened the week slightly down, dipping 0.1% to 7,481.87pts.

Early risers in grocery this morning include Tate & Lyle, up 3.2% to 703.3p, M&S, up 1.2% to 259.8p, and WH Smith, up 0.4% to 1,593.5p.

Fallers so far include Delivery Hero, down 2.4% to €83.16, Science in Sport, down 2.2% to 67p, and Hellofresh, down 2.2% to €58.

Yesterday in the City

Events ramp up this week as the flurry of Christmas trading updates begin.

Tomorrow starts with the latest monthly grocery sales figures from Nielsen and retail sales for December from the BRC.

Wednesday will see Sainsbury’s report its third-quarter results, including the performance over Christmas, with trading updates also due from Just Eat Takeaway and Vimto maker Nichols.

Its the turn of Tesco and Marks & Spencer to update the City on festive trading on Thursday, alongside meat and fish supplier Hilton Food Group.

In the wider retail market, the likes of Shoe Zone, Topps Tiles, DFS, ASOS, Dunelm, Halfords and Currys are lined up to release results.