German discounter Aldi is to hire 4,000 new workers in the UK, after committing to investing £1.3 billion into upgrading stores and distribution centres by 2022. The move follows a 49% increase in pre-tax profits to £271.5 million in 2019, reports Retail Gazette. Sales were up by 8.3% to £12.3 billion thanks to a 6% rise in new shoppers to 17.6 million.
The new investment plan foresees Aldi opening 100 new stores across the UK in 2020 and 2021, which will create 4,000 new jobs in addition to the 3,000 permanent positions created so far in 2020. Aldi’s long-term goal is to have 1,200 UK stores in operation by 2025.
Aldi chief executive, Giles Hurley, said: “For over 30 years, our success has been driven by the ever-increasing number of shoppers who put their trust in Aldi every time they shop with us. This is what enables us to keep investing in Britain – in our products, our prices, our people and in the communities we serve. With the UK’s economic outlook increasingly uncertain, families are more concerned about their grocery bills than ever. We’ve seen before that our customers need us most in times of financial hardship, which is why our commitment to remain Britain’s lowest-priced supermarket is more important than ever.”
Photo: Aldi UK
UK retailer Marks & Spencer is to cut 7,000 jobs over the next three months due to the shift in trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Although online and home deliveries were strong, in-store sales of clothing and home goods were “well below” 2019 levels. M&S said it hoped a “significant proportion” of the cuts – about a tenth of its workforce – will be voluntary redundancy and early retirement. In a statement, M&S said it was “too early to predict with precision where a new post-Covid sales mix will settle. We must now act to reflect this change”. The retailer said that the pandemic had showed it could work more flexibly and productively, with more staff multi-tasking and moving between food, clothing and home departments.
During the lockdown, M&S boss Steve Rowe said that customers might “never shop the same way again” after the coronavirus crisis. M&S said total sales in its clothing and home arm dropped 29.9% in the eight weeks since shops reopened, with store sales plummeting by 47.9% and online surging 39.2%.
M&S employs almost 78,000 people, mostly in the UK. The bulk of the latest job cuts are expected to come among shop floor workers, with about 12% of customer assistant roles going. The company is shifting resources and recruiting towards areas that are expanding such as online and food. In the last 13 weeks, M&S’s total food sales increased by 2.5%.
According to latest Kantar data, the grocery market expanded by 14.4% in the 12 weeks to 9 August. Sales at Morrisons increased the most, rising by 16% over that period.