Discount chain Aldi profits soar in UK

Discount supermarket chain Aldi has announced a major expansion plan as business booms during the double-dip recession.

The German-owned company saw UK profits rise over 200% in 2011 to 57.8m.

The performance suggests that the squeeze on consumer spending - brought about by higher inflation and weak wage growth - has broadened the chain's appeal.

Research by Nielsen found that Aldi's customer base had grown by more than one million since 2010.

As a result of its success, the company is to open 40 new stores by the end of 2013 creating 4,500 jobs which will take its total number of UK shops past 500.

The UK business is jointly run by group managing directors Matthew Barnes and Roman Heini.

Mr Heini said: "Consumers are attracted to Aldi by our brand-matched quality products and keep returning to our stores when they realise their weekly shop can cost around a third less than in the big supermarkets."

Aldi announced its figures as Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket chain, was expected to confirm its first drop in profits for 20 years.

While Tesco maintains a healthy lead over its rivals in terms of market share, its competitors are closing the gap.

The latest Nielsen report found that while Aldi had only a 2.6% market share in the 12 weeks to September 15 this year, that was 47% ahead of where it was last year.

While the numbers suggest Aldi has comfortably become the fastest growing chain in terms of sales, its market share remains weak compared to the big supermarkets.


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