German supermarket Aldi, which enjoyed strong sales during the pandemic, said on Monday, September 28, it will hire 4,000 more staff and open 100 new stores in Britain by 2022.
The announcement came as United Kingdom-based supermarkets create lots of jobs to meet a surge in food sales, while other retailers, hospitality, and travel groups have slashed tens of thousands in the face of slumping demand.
Aldi UK and Ireland employs 36,000 people and has already created 3,000 permanent jobs this year, it added in a results statement.
“Aldi…has pledged to invest a record £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion, 1.4 billion euros) over the next two years with new and upgraded stores, distribution centers, and further innovations across its business,” the company said.
“The plans are expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs next year.”
In 2019, sales rose by 8% to £12.3 billion, from £11.3 billion in 2018.
Pre-tax profit soared by 49% to £271.5 million.
The group is testing a click-and-collect UK service to tap into booming online demand.
The uncertain economic outlook has stimulated demand for low-price goods as consumers tighten their belts, according to Aldi UK and Ireland chief executive Giles Hurley.
“With the UK’s economic outlook increasingly uncertain, families are more concerned about their grocery bills than ever,” Hurley said.
He praised “courageous” efforts by employees, suppliers, and customers.
“The response to the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic was both heroic and historic,” Hurley said.
Susannah Streeter, an analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, said the UK supermarket sector had been boosted this year by stockpiling as virus-fearing Britons rushed to secure supplies.
Last week, Aldi urged shoppers to avoid buying more than they usually would, owing to fears that new coronavirus restrictions would spark panic buying.
“Supermarket chains have been the big winners during the pandemic, as people raced to stock up on lockdown supplies – and Aldi’s position as a value retailer has made it more resilient at a time of deep economic uncertainty,” Streeter said.
“Consumers often trade down from higher-end supermarkets when times are tough,” she noted.
Two major British supermarkets, Tesco and Morrisons, revealed last week that they are rationing key products to discourage panic buying. – Rappler.com
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