// Lidl slumped to a £25.2m pre-tax loss for the year to February 29 2020, just before the pandemic
// This compares to a profit of £19m the year prior
// Losses came after Lidl spent £654m adding another 51 stores, a new warehouse, and increasing workforce by 8%
Lidl has revealed hefty losses for its UK business after investing heavily in stores and expanding its workforce.
The German-owned discounter said it slumped to a £25.2 million pre-tax loss for the year to February 29 2020, just before the pandemic struck.
It reported profits of £19 million the previous year, but said this was not a like-for-like comparison given an administrative reorganisation last March which saw previously separate divisions of Lidl UK combined into one business.
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The losses came after Lidl spent £654 million adding another 51 stores and a new warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland, while it also increased its UK workforce by eight per cent to 23,249 as it hired nearly another 1800 employees.
Since then, the group has continued its hiring spree to beef up its operations in the face of surging demand during the coronavirus crisis, taking on another 8000 employees.
It also opened more than a further 50 new stores in the past year as it targets a network of 1000 by 2023 under a £1.3 million investment programme.
Lidl now has more than 800 stores and 13 distribution centres across the UK and is on track to open a new £70 million headquarters in Tolworth, Surrey, by the end of the year.
“Whilst the world has changed considerably since this financial period (full year 2019-20), our driving focus remains on offering customers the best quality products at the lowest prices in the market,” Lidl GB chief executive Christian Hartnagel said.
“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 recently posted a record 17.9 per cent surge in total sales year-on-year over the four weeks to December 27.
Supermarkets have reported soaring sales in recent months as repeated lockdowns have forced the closure of non-essential stores, pubs and restaurants while food retailers have been allowed to remain open.
Lidl revealed plans earlier this week to pay more than 25,000 UK staff a bonus for their hard work amid the pandemic, while it has also pledged to repay more than £100 million in business rates relief.
The grocery chain, part of Europe’s largest retailer Schwarz Group, said in November that it would increase staff entry-level wages from March to £9.50 an hour outside the M25 and £10.85 within the M25.
with PA Wires