Alcohol sales fuel strong Christmas growth at Lidl


Lidl’s UK business reported an 11 per cent increase in sales over the Christmas period, which the discount retailer said made it the fastest growing bricks and mortar supermarket over the festive season.

The group said the rise was largely driven by rising alcohol sales, with beer, wine and spirits up 13 per cent — its largest ever growth in the sector. Wine was its fastest growing area, with sales up 20 per cent.

“This was our 25th Christmas since first opening our doors in Britain, and what a Christmas it’s been, with more customers shopping at Lidl than ever before,” said Christian Härtnagel, chief executive of Lidl GB. “The number of customers switching to us in the lead up to Christmas shows the continued appeal of the Lidl offer.”

Lidl said it had seen its busiest trading day ever on December 23 as customers switched away from other supermarkets, bringing in an extra £110m over the period.

Along with rival Aldi, Lidl arrived in the UK in the 1990s. Both have expanded rapidly over the past decade, tripling their market share to around 15 per cent and muscling out traditional supermarkets.

Lidl currently has 790 stores and 13 warehouses in the country. It plans to grow this to 1,000 stores by the end of 2023, driving expansion with a £1.45bn investment spread over this year and last.

Like Aldi it has found it more difficult to expand in London and the south-east England, as it has struggled to get good deals on rents. Last year it said it would invest £500m in ramping up its presence in the capital.

Lidl’s UK subsidiary is German registered so does not file accounts at Companies House. But Aldi, which is UK-registered, does — and its recent accounts have indicated that heavy spending on new stores is squeezing profitability.