THE BATTLE of the discount supermarkets saw a new charge yesterday as budget chain Aldi pledged to create 35,000 new jobs and open 550 new stores by 2022.
In the latest assault against the big four supermarkets, which last week saw the return of budget retailer Netto to the UK with the opening of a new store at Moor Allerton, Aldi announced plans to invest £600m expanding its UK business.
Store numbers are set to more than double, with 1,000 by 2022, and a new apprenticeship programme which will create at least one new apprenticeship position in each store per year.
Aldi’s group managing directors, Matthew Barnes and Roman Heini, announced the plans during a visit by Prime Minister David Cameron to the chain’s headquarters in Warwickshire.
He said the job creation plans were a “vote of confidence” in the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan.
Aldi opened 42 new stores last year and is on course to open another 54 this year, with another 60-65 new stores planned to open in 2015.
The Aldi group now has more than 7,000 stores across three continents and its UK market share stands at 4.8 per cent.
The new jobs will include management roles, both in-store and within Aldi’s offices, as well as in-store and regional distribution centre roles.
Mr Heini said: “As well as growing store numbers, we are investing in our operations to ensure we continue to meet and exceed customer expectations.”