Discount retail is booming in the UK, yet so far most of its adherents have shunned ecommerce. But now Aldi, Britain’s 'fastest-growing retailer', has said it plans to launch an online operation next year.
Those hoping to buy super cheap cheese and meat from the comfort of their sofa will be disappointed though – initially the service will just offer wine and non-food items. That’s not especially surprising; it’s much more difficult and costly to co-ordinate the delivery of fresh, perishable food.
The news came alongside Aldi’s latest UK results, which show it’s continuing to expand at a blistering pace. Its sales were up 30.1% to £6.9bn in the year to December 2014 – the equivalent of £31m in extra revenue each week.
‘As the grocery market continues to evolve, our unique model, operational efficiency, private ownership and financial strength mean we’re able to keep investing in our business – from people and presence to products and prices,’ said Matthew Barnes, Aldi’s UK CEO.
Though its parent company is German, the supermarket was also keen to tout the benefits it claims to bring to Britain. Last year it created 7,000 jobs and paid £57.9m in tax, the announcement said. ‘As well as driving down prices for shoppers, our growth and investment is having a lasting and positive effect on the UK economy, with more local jobs and more British-made products across our stores,’ Barnes added.
The expansion shows no signs of halting. Aldi say it is on track to open 65 stores this year, up from 54 in 2014, and Barnes said there is ‘enormous scope for growth over the next 25 years.’ The nightmare for Tesco and its other big competitors is only just beginning.