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Lidl spending to create 2,500 jobs

Discounter Lidl ramped up pressure on the major supermarkets today by announcing it will spend £220 million on 20 new stores, creating 2,500 jobs.

The move will take the German discount chain, backed by parent company Schwarz Group, from 600 UK stores to 620 by the end of this year.

This new investment comes on the back of £170 million spent in the UK in 2013, with 12 new stores and the creation of an additional 3,500 jobs.

Discounters such as Lidl and Aldi have grown their market shares as household budgets have tightened and forced the four major supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda - into a price war.

Earlier this month Lidl hit a record market share of 3.6% driven by its highest ever year-on-year growth of 22.7%, according to the latest till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

In comparison, the country's largest supermarket Tesco, saw its market share decline to 29% from 30.5%, while its sales slipped 3.1% from a year ago.

Lidl said the new jobs it plans to create will range from head office jobs at its headquarters in Wimbledon to in-store posts such as bakery managers.

In the year to February 28, Lidl saw its UK sales increase 20% to £3.3 billion.

The business has said it eventually wants to open 1,500 shops in the UK.

Ronny Gottschlich, Lidl UK's managing director, said: "This latest phase in our growth is a testament to the continuing success of Lidl in the UK."

Chancellor George Osborne said: "It's great news that Lidl is investing in thousands of new jobs across the UK."

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