Lidl plans to create 2,500 jobs across the UK in next nine months, it revealed today (June 27). The £220M expansion will boost its total of discount stores to 620 by the end of this year – up from 600 last year.
New roles will include: bakery managers, freshness co-ordinators, store jobs, depot staff and roles at its UK head office in Wimbledon.
The expansion follows four years of growth in sales and profitability, as the store has challenged the dominance of the big four supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons. Lidl turnover reached £3.3bn last year, while sales soared by 20% over the past 12 months to reach a record 3.6% in June 2014, compared with the previous year.
Lidl turnover reached £3.3bn last year
The retailer also planned to open its ninth regional distribution centre in September, following an £80M investment, to support the boost its fresh product sales. The Northfleet depot in Kent will create an extra 250 new jobs.
Fresh produce has increased from 25% to more than 40% of Lidl UK’s turnover in the past four years. Two-thirds of the range is British, while the firm also exported more than £100M of British whisky and £30M of cheese last year.
Lidl’s expansion won praise from chancellor George Osborne. “It’s great news that Lidl is investing in thousands of new jobs across the UK – each job means security and a better future for another family and the country as a whole,” said Osborne.
Lidl UK’s md, Ronny Gottschlich, said the firm was focused on the single goal of giving customers the freshest, highest-quality products possible at the best value.
“We operate on a highly efficient business model and source as much as we can locally because it supports UK producers and also limits the financial and environmental impact of transport,” said Gottschlich.
“This latest phase in our growth is a testament to the continuing success of Lidl in the UK. People all over the country are realising they can make huge savings on their weekly grocery shop with us, without compromising on quality.”
Meanwhile, Morrisons’ boss Dalton Philips yesterday (June 26) acknowledged the challenge discount stores, such as Lidl and Aldi, presented to established supermarkets.
‘You can’t out-discount a discounter …’
“You can’t out-discount a discounter but you have got to face into their challenge,” Philips told the British Retail Consortium’s annual symposium. “That’s what we are about: fighting back,” he said, according to a report in The Guardian. “If the middle market doesn’t fight back, it pays a huge price.”
Earlier this month, Morrisons revealed plans to axe, 2,600 jobs in a management restructure designed to generate savings that could be invested in cheaper products to take on the discounters.
Last week, Sainsbury announced a joint venture with Danish discounter Netto in a bid to battle sharper price competition.
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