Aldi UK swings to profit and plans expansion

Mon Oct 1, 2012 5:23am EDT

* 2011 profit after tax 57.8 mln stg vs loss 56 mln stg

* Turnover 2.76 bln stg, up 29.4 pct

* Tracking similar turnover growth in 2012

* To create 4,500 jobs in 2012, open 40 new stores by end-2013

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Grocer Aldi said its British business swung to a profit in 2011 on a 29 percent rise in turnover as its discount offer found favour with cash-strapped consumers.

The privately-owned German retailer, which has a UK grocery market share of just over 4 percent, said on Monday is was tracking similar growth in 2012 in terms of sales volumes, turnover and customer visits.

Having opened 29 new stores in 2011 it plans to invest 181 million pounds ($292 million) opening 40 new stores by the end of 2013, taking its UK total to over 500 and creating 4,500 jobs in 2012.

The UK business made a profit after tax of 57.8 million pounds in 2011, having made a loss of 56.0 million in the previous year.

Turnover jumped to 2.76 billion pounds from 2.14 billion, which the company attributed to the development of fresh meat, bakery and fruit and vegetable ranges, as well as its low price strategy.

With British household budgets being squeezed by government austerity measures and inflation running ahead of wages growth, competition among supermarkets for consumer spend is intense.

Market leader Tesco and No. 3 player J Sainsbury will both update on trading on Wednesday. ($1 = 0.6193 British pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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