Lidl GB has suffered a hefty annual loss as it ploughed money into new stores and hired swathes of new staff, new figures show.
The German discounter, which employs over 25,000 people in Britain, slumped to a £25.2million pre-tax loss for the year to 29 February 2020.
The supermarket said it bolstered its UK-based workforce by 1,800 people, or 8 per cent, over the period, and splashed out £654million on 51 stores and a new warehouse in Motherwell.
Annual loss: Lidl GB slumped to a £25.2m annual loss in its last financial year
In the 2019/20 financial year, Lidl’s total revenue came in at £6.9billion as the chain saw a record number of shoppers flood through its doors.
Lid claimed British households switched £391.7million worth of spend to its stores over the period, with the key Christmas trading period seeing overall sales up 11 per cent.
The group’s losses after tax in the 2019/20 year came in at £13.6million.
Since the end of its 2019/20 financial year, Lidl has ramped up its UK operations further, opening a further 50 new stores as it targets a network of 1,000 by 2023.
In its current financial year, and during the pandemic, Lidl has hired 8,000 new staff and said it plans to return £100million received in business rate relief back to the Government.
The group now has over 800 stores and 13 distribution centres up and down the country.
Christian Hartnagel, Lidl GB chief executive, said: ‘Whilst the world has changed considerably since this financial period… our driving focus remains on offering customers the best quality products at the lowest prices in the market.
‘We will continue to focus on providing customers up and down the country with this, as we grow our store estate, logistics and operations.
‘We are confident in our strategy and see huge potential in the market long-term and will continue to hire more colleagues, invest in British suppliers, open more stores and become an integral part of more communities.’
Lidl launches its loyalty app ‘Lidl Plus’ promising hefty discounts
Hiring spree: Lidl has hired 1,800 new staff over the course of its last financial year
Earlier this week Lidl revealed plans to dish out a one-off bonus of £200 to its supermarkets staff, cleaners, warehouse staff and customer assistants as a ‘thank you’ for their hard work during the pandemic.
The supermarket chain said its 1,800 office-based employees would also receive a £100 bonus.
With a string of sites across England, Wales and Scotland, Lidl said the move would cost it £5.5million.
‘The payment is in recognition of their tireless efforts to keep the nation fed and provide a safe shopping experience for customers up and down the country,’ Lidl said in a statement this week.
This is the second bonus Lidl has paid to its workers, having doled out £150 to all colleagues in March last year as the pandemic shifted up a gear.
Wage hike: Aldi and Lidl are both upping their basic pay packets for workers
The supermarket, which has grown rapidly in recent years and saw ‘record’ sales over Christmas, also announced a pay rise for its workforce back in November.
The new pay packets, which will come into effect from March this year, will see entry-level wages rise from £9.30 to £9.50 an hour outside the M25 and £10.75 to £10.85 within the M25.
Rival discount supermarket Aldi also announced last week that it would increase its national minimum hourly pay rate for store employees to £9.55 from £9.40 in February.
Lidl, crowned the cheapest supermarket of 2020 by consumer group Which?, posted a record 17.9 per cent surge in total sales over the four weeks to 27 December, compared with the same period last year.
The average festive basket size rose by nearly a quarter over the period, with shoppers snapping up one million bottles of pink prosecco.
The chain said it believed shoppers switched £34.7million of spend from other supermarkets to Lidl over Christmas.
Sales of Lidl’s premium Deluxe range swelled by 22 per cent, while festive favourites like mince pies and panettone also sold well.
In September, Lidl launched its first ever smartphone loyalty rewards app, promising shoppers discounts on its own-brand products, cinema tickets and Sky TV packages.
Shoppers using the new app, called ‘Lidl Plus’ can get ‘scratch card’ prizes, ranging from 25p to up to £20 off their weekly shop.
Customers using the app also have a one in five chance of a win on the ‘scratch card’ with each purchase.
This year, Lidl is opening its brand new head office site in Tolworth, Surrey, which will house over 800 staff and cost the company £70million.
While many retailers have suffered during the course of the pandemic, supermarkets have been deemed ‘essential’ and remained open throughout, with many enjoying bumper sales.