According to its MD John Paul Scally, Lidl’s sales in Ireland are “significantly more” than €1bn although the grocer doesn't file accounts and has never made its revenues in this market transparent.
Scally declined to outline the chain’s profitability but added that the Irish operation is allowed by its parent group to “reinvest them back into the business”.
According to the Irish Times, Scallary explained that the discounter, which has around an 8.5% share of the Irish grocery market, passed the €1bn sales mark "a while back”.
Scally said the grocer predicts the opening of around “40 or 50” additional stores in Ireland over the next few years, adding to its 147 store estate.
Lidl is currently working on a planned rollout of larger format, more upscale stores, modelled on a new €5m “concept store” in Gorey, Wexford. New features include wider aisles, as well as coffee machines in Gorey and a new hot food convenience offering: "Lidl Go". These initiatives are likely to be implemented nationwide.
At least eight of these concept stores will open this year, Scally said, as part of a €110m capital investment plan. The development of new car parking designs for some stores are currently underway, off the back of research by Lidl which shows stores with underground car parks are less favoured by some customers.
This prompted the group to build its new store in Terenure at first floor level, on top of a surface-level car park with an open entrance. This design is expected to be replicated in other new stores.
Scally, also responsible for Lidl’s 36 stores in Northern Ireland, said the sales for this unit are not included in the €1bn.
“It is a much smaller business up there. It is growing faster than here, because it is less competitive. We have a market share in Northern Ireland of about 5%,” he said.