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09/28/2021

Aldi U.K. earmarks £1.3B for stores, new tech

CEO Giles Hurley addressed a plan to grow the chain’s market share throughout the United Kingdom over the next two years, including a pilot of a checkout-free store.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Aldi U.K. has made it known that it is investing £1.3 billion over the next two years (2022-2023) to add 100 stores, create more jobs and elevate how shoppers shop its predominantly store brand products in the region.

CEO Giles Hurley made the pledge during its annual trading update saying the investment comes at a time when Aldi’s sales in the U.K. and Ireland had grown 10.2% to a record £13.5 billion in 2020, compared with £12.3 billion in 2019. For 2021, the chain referred to Kantar panel data ending 12 weeks Sept. 5, showing Aldi U.K. had the highest share of supermarket shoppers in the United Kingdom at 8.1%.

a man wearing a suit and tie
Giles Hurley

“We’re continuing to gain even more customers – with over 60% of households shopping with Aldi in the last year,” said Hurley. “By redefining the discount supermarket in the U.K., creating more places and more ways to shop with us, we are excited to provide millions of new customers with access to Aldi’s award-winning quality and unbeatable value.”

The investment that Aldi U.K. is putting forth will create more than 2,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 7,000 permanent roles created over the last two years. The money will help build 100 stores across the U.K. over the next two years, as well as expand its logistics infrastructure that includes a 1.3 million square foot site in Leicestershire. 

When it comes to shopping, Aldi U.K. said it will remain offering the lowest price point possible at its 920 U.K. stores, saying last year its price cuts equaled that of £238 million. The chain has earmarked funds to build off its curbside service, too, that’s in 200 stores currently.

Aldi U.K. is also piloting a checkout-free store in Greenwich, London that leverages smart cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to identify what items shoppers take from shelves and syncing up with that shopper’s mobile account, enabling them to skip the checkout line.

Hurley said as Britain’s fifth-largest supermarket the chain is looking to test and see how consumers take to the technology. The store will employ the same number of associates than a typical Aldi.

table

“As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600 million in stores and distribution centres across the U.K.,” said Hurley. “This helped to create thousands of much-needed jobs and support for British farmers and manufacturers. Whilst the cost of responding to the pandemic dampened profits, our decision to return business rate relief was the right thing to do.”

Earlier, Aldi U.K. made a pledge to halve the volume of plastic packaging it uses by 2025, removing more than two billion pieces of plastic from circulation. 

Aldi U.S., has a similar pledge, calling for 100% of its private label packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, while cutting packing materials for those products by 15% over the same period.