The British arm of German discount supermarket group Lidl on Tuesday reported a rise in sales over the Christmas period and reiterated its pledge to offer the lowest prices in the market, a day after rival Aldi made the same promise.
British consumers are about to be squeezed on spending, with energy prices, food inflation, mortgage costs and taxes all heading higher in 2022, leaving retailers looking at a much tougher environment.
“As inflation continues to rise, I want to reassure each and every one of our customers that we remain resolute in our promise of being the destination for the lowest grocery prices in the market," said Lidl GB chief executive Christian Hartnagel.
Aldi UK & Ireland
On Monday, his counterpart at Aldi UK & Ireland, Giles Hurley, said his firm "will always offer the lowest prices for groceries, no matter what."
The German discounters' price pledges have caused concern amongst some analysts.
"Are we entering a stage now where deep discounting in certain areas of the market represents a form of market failure due to the damage into the supply chain, especially farming?" asked Shore Capital analyst Clive Black.
Lidl GB is owned by Germany's Schwarz group and is Britain's seventh largest supermarket group, with a market share of 6.3%.
Its sales rose 2.6% year-on-year in the four weeks to 26 December and were up 21% against 2019, before the pandemic impacted trading.
On Monday, Aldi UK & Ireland reported a 0.4% rise in December sales.
Lidl GB said Christmas pudding sales jumped 23% year-on-year and sparking wine sales 24%. It also highlighted strong demand for Lidl Christmas jumpers and scented candles.
Unlike its bigger rivals, but in common with Aldi, Lidl is still opening new stores but does not have a significant online business.
Last November, Lidl GB set a new target of reaching 1,100 stores by 2025. It currently trades from over 890.
1,100 New Stores
0n the 24 November 2021, Lidl set a new target to have 1,100 stores by the end of 2025, in the UK, creating up to 4,000 new jobs in the process.
The discounter said at the time that it had a previous target of 1,000 stores by the end of 2023, which it said it was on track to reach.
It currently trades from about 880 stores, having opened 55 in 2020-21, with 26,000 employees.
More to follow...