Having announced record sales and made its first move online, the company, which has benefited from the downturn and changing customer habits, said annual group sales had soared to £6.9bn from £5.2bn – boosted by a record investment in new stores and distribution centres of £438m, up from £274m.As a result of the increased spend, operating profit dropped to £260.3m from £271.4m. The business, which opened its first UK store in 1990, has now more than doubled its sales in the past three years. It said 2014 sales had been helped by offering more British sourced produce as well as more premium and “Specially Selected” lines such as deli items, fresh produce, meat and herbs. Wine was also popular, with over 1,000 bottles of wine from its Exquisite Collection sold per hour – with year-on-year sales up 40 per cent. Aldi also confirmed plans to launch an ecommerce operation early next year selling wine by the case. This will be followed by its non-food “Specialbuys” range later in 2016. Shoppers will be able to collect their goods through home delivery and collections from third party locations. Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi UK & Ireland, said: “Our focus on offering the best-quality products and range at unbeatable, straightforward prices is bringing more and more shoppers through our doors, helping us to achieve consistent market-leading growth in sales. “We refuse to be beaten on price by anyone. We’re maintaining a significant price gap of at least 15 per cent on an average basket of goods – people are seeing that value at the checkout, tasting the quality at home and coming back to do a full weekly shop, time and time again. “As the grocery market continues to evolve, our unique model, operational efficiency, private ownership and financial strength mean we’re able to keep investing in our business – from people and presence to products and prices.” Read more about Aldi:
- Shoppers shun big brands to save the pennies
- Value and premium brands dominate the UK’s list of fastest-growing retailers
- What lies ahead for the grocery sector?
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