Aldi to spend additional 3.5 bln stg on food and drink from British suppliers

Dec 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s fifth-biggest supermarket Aldi said Wednesday it plans to increase the amount of food and drink it buys from British suppliers by 3.5 billion pounds ($4.77 billion) within the next five years as the company continues its rapid expansion across the United Kingdom.

In September, Aldi, which is privately owned by Germany’s Aldi Sud ALDIEI.UL, said it will open around 100 supermarkets and invest 1.3 billion pounds in Britain over the next two years. The company said it expected to create a further 4,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 3,000 roles already created in 2020.

Aldi UK’s Chief Executive Officer Giles Hurley said in a statement, “We are expecting significant sales growth in 2021 as we open new stores and bring Aldi to more locations across the UK.”

“With the vast majority of our grocery products now coming from British suppliers, our growth will lead to additional jobs and investment in our UK supply chain,” Hurley added.

The company also said payment terms for small suppliers it introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic will be extended until the end of 2021, benefitting more than 1,000 small British businesses.

Aldi has grown its UK market share to 8% over the last decade thanks to its aggressive store opening programme. ($1 = 0.7344 pounds) (Reporting by Nandakumar D and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)