Aldi UK to ramp-up click and collect trial

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at a branch of Aldi Local, as discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl look poised to accelerate their push into home delivery to satisfy burgeoning demand for online grocery shopping in a shift expected to endure beyond the coronavirus crisis, in London, Britain, June 17, 2020. Picture taken June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Aldi UK [ALDIEI.UL], the British arm of the German supermarket discounter, will extend its trial of a click and collect grocery service by up to an additional 200 stores by Christmas, it said on Monday.

Britain’s fifth-largest supermarket group, with 900 stores and an 8% market share, has been expanding its channels to customers.

In April it started selling online food parcels to help self-isolating and vulnerable customers during the coronavirus crisis and has also started a rapid delivery service in partnership with Deliveroo.

Aldi launched its click and collect trial from a single store in central England in September, before extending it to cover 18 stores last month.

“This trial has been hugely popular so far,” said Chief Executive Giles Hurley.

Aldi customers can choose from a full range of grocery items online, then drive to their local store where they can have their shopping brought to their cars by store staff contact-free, in line with social distancing rules.

Online grocery shopping has doubled its share of the UK market to around 14% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and online pioneer Ocado OCDO.L reckons it could reach 30% over the next few years.

Last month Aldi said it was investing 1.3 billion pounds over the next two years, including in opening 100 new stores and upgrading a further 100 stores.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton and Louise Heavens