Germany’s Schwarz Gruppe, the owner of discount retailers Lidl and Kaufland, said on Monday its sales grew 7.4% in 2018 and that it planned to keep investing heavily despite a challenging environment.
The Schwarz group posted 2018 sales of €104.3 billion ($117.4 billion), exceeding the €100 billion mark for the first time, as the Lidl chain grew 8.8% and Kaufland hypermarkets expanded 1.6%.
After hitting saturation at home, Lidl and rival German discount chain Aldi have been expanding rapidly in other countries, especially in the United States and Britain, where they have been taking market share from major national players.
The group invested €7.5 billion in 2018, mostly in opening 400 new stores and renovating others.
Lidl said it did not plan to cut back on investment in 2019, when it expects similar growth despite a 'perpetually challenging environment'.
Founded in 1973, Lidl operates more than 10,800 stores in 29 countries, while Kaufland has 1,300 in seven European countries.
The Schwarz group said the figures included waste management for the first time after it bought waste disposal company Toensmeier last year.
This generated over €500 million in sales, with a target to reach €750 million in five years.