Aldi is to create 2,000 new jobs next year as part of plans to accelerate its share of the UK grocery market.
The discount supermarket chain, which today revealed that sales had grown by 10.2% in 2020, also plans to open 100 new stores across the UK over the next two years and expand its logistics function with the addition of a new 1.3 m sq ft site in Leicestershire.
The proposed 2,000 new roles are in addition to the 7,000 announced over the past two years.
Giles Hurley, chief executive officer for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “Whilst 2020 was an extremely challenging year, our 41,000 colleagues stepped up when it mattered most – their dedication to the communities they serve has been nothing short of remarkable. Despite some of the most difficult conditions our sector has ever seen, our people underlined the strength, success and spirit of our business.
“As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600m in stores and distribution centres across the UK. This helped to create thousands of much-needed jobs and support for British farmers and manufacturers.”
The firm’s business update also revealed that it had returned the business rates relief it received during the pandemic to the Treasury.
“Whilst the cost of responding to the pandemic dampened profits, our decision to return business rate relief was the right thing to do,” said Hurley.
It maintained its position as the UK’s best paying supermarket by increasing store employees’ minimum hourly pay to £9.55 nationally and £11.07 in London, exceeding the rates recommended by the Living Wage Foundation (£9.50 and £10.85 respectively).
It has also increased pay for HGV drivers amid a chronic shortage of staff in the logistics sector.
Aldi posted a pre-tax profit of £264.8m in the year ended 31 December 2020, down 2.5% from the £271.5m recorded in 2019. It said this was because it had “put people before profits” during the pandemic and drove down prices.