Aldi UK's Christmas sales rise driven by premium products

General view of an Aldi store sign
General view of an Aldi store sign, in Milton Keynes, Britain, January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers
  • December sales up 0.4% vs 2020
  • Sales up 8.1% vs 2019

LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The British arm of German discount supermarket group Aldi said on Monday its Christmas performance was boosted by record sales of its premium range and strong demand for beer, wine and spirits.

Aldi UK and Ireland said its sales in December rose 0.4% compared to the previous year, when spending was higher than usual due to a COVID-19 lockdown and temporary closure of bars and restaurants.

Its sales were up 8.1% versus 2019, before the pandemic impacted trading.

The group, privately owned by Aldi Sud (ALDIEI.UL), is Britain's fifth largest supermarket group with a 7.7% market share.

However, its share edged lower at some points during the pandemic, partly due to a lack of a significant online business.

Aldi UK highlighted the performance of its premium "Specially Selected" range in December, which notched up its highest ever sales, as well as demand for alcoholic drinks.

Aldi said its "Kevin the Carrot" television advertising campaign chimed with consumers and it sold more than 43 million mince pies, 21 million pigs-in-blankets and 118 million Brussels sprouts.

It said shoppers also bought more than 5.5 million bottles of champagne, sparkling wine and prosecco.

Aldi and fellow German rival Lidl have grown rapidly in Britain over the last decade, forcing the established big four supermarkets - market leader Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) Asda and Morrisons - to cut prices and compete more aggressively. read more

Unlike their bigger rivals Aldi and Lidl are still opening lots of new stores.

Aldi said in September it will invest 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in Britain over the next two years, opening a new store every week. read more

"As we look ahead, the top priority for most families this year will be managing their household budgets in the face of rising living costs," said CEO Giles Hurley.

British consumers are about to be squeezed on spending, with energy prices, food inflation, mortgage costs and taxes all due to jump in 2022, leaving retailers looking at a much tougher environment. read more

($1 = 0.7360 pounds)

Reporting by James Davey, editing by Paul Sandle/Keith Weir

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