Lidl GB says more shoppers switching to it as profit rises



LONDON (Reuters) -The British arm of German discount supermarket Lidl on Thursday said more shoppers were switching to it from traditional grocers during the cost-of-living crunch as it reported a rise in full-year profit.

Britons are struggling with rising living costs that show no sign of easing. With inflation at a 41-year high of 11.1% and consumer confidence close to the gloomiest on record, they are seeking to make savings.

“As a discount supermarket we are in the best possible position to support people through these challenging times,” said Lidl GB CEO Ryan McDonnell.

Citing industry data, Lidl GB said shoppers switched 58 million pounds ($69 million) of spending from the traditional supermarkets – market leader Tesco (LON:TSCO), Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – to it in the last month as they sought savings.

Lidl GB, part of Germany’s Schwarz retail group, said over 770,000 more people were shopping with it each week compared to last year.

It said shoppers were already stocking up on Christmas essentials with sales of its “Partytime” range up 21% and its Panettone up 8% versus last year.

Lidl GB and rival discounter Aldi, Britain’s sixth and fourth largest grocers by market share, were hurt during the pandemic by the lack of significant online businesses, but have drawn customers from traditional grocers as living costs have accelerated.

The latest industry data shows Aldi and Lidl are currently Britain’s fastest growing grocers.

That is also partly due to the fact that they, unlike their mainstream rivals, are continuing to open lots of new stores.

Lidl GB said revenue in the year to Feb. 28, 2022, rose 1.5% to 7.8 billion pounds while pretax profit was 41.1 million pounds, up from 9.8 million pounds.

In September, it reported a 79% fall in 2021 operating profit.

Both Aldi UK and Lidl GB have said they are relaxed about their relatively low profitability because they are investing in Britain for the long term.