Aldi to create 35,000 new UK jobs
Discount supermarket chain Aldi has pledged to create 35,000 new jobs in the UK as it strives for an estate of 1,000 stores by 2022.
In its latest salvo against the major grocery chains, Aldi said it plans to invest £600 million in UK expansion - with store numbers set to more than double through the opening of 550 new outlets over the next eight years.
The plan was discussed during a visit to Aldi UK's Warwickshire headquarters by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The company's grocery market share now stands at 4.8% following the rapid growth of discounters in the UK, led by Aldi and German rival Lidl.
Aldi opened 42 new stores last year and is on course to open another 54 this year, with another 60-65 new stores planned to open in 2015. The Aldi group now has more than 7,000 stores across three continents.
Its job plans in the UK include the creation of at least one apprenticeship position per store, per year. This will be supported by a new academy located at Aldi's office and distribution centre in Bolton, which is due to open in March.
Chancellor George Osborne said: "It is fantastic to see great success stories like Aldi creating jobs and increasing opportunities for young people."
The new jobs will include management roles, both in-store and within Aldi's offices, as well as in-store and regional distribution centre roles.
Aldi UK's joint managing director Roman Heini said: " As well as growing store numbers, we are investing in our operations to ensure we continue to meet and exceed customer expectations."
In September, the company announced UK sales of £5.3 billion for 2013 - a rise of 36% on a year earlier. Pre-tax profits were 65% higher at a new record of £260.9 million.
It recruited 9,000 new members of staff in the UK in 2013, including more than 291 apprentices and 165 graduates.
The company expects to have more than 7,000 new workers in 2014, including 500 in apprenticeships and 160 in graduate positions.
The expansion comes at a time when the major UK supermarkets are cutting back on their plans for new store openings.
Sainsbury's is due to present the results of a strategic review on Wednesday, when it is expected to announce plans to cut capital expenditure through its focus on the roll-out of convenience stores rather than out-of-town sites.