Commenting on its performance, J.P. Scally, Chief Executive of Lidl Ireland and Lidl Northern Ireland, said:
“Lidl Northern Ireland has delivered an impressive trading performance over the full year period and this substantial year-on-year sales growth is testament to our established business model which continues to deliver for us and for our more than 300,000 weekly customers across the region.
Despite unprecedented challenges, we’ve held our position as Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket, achieving 24% sales growth in 2020, and we’re focused now on growing that even further.”
Consistently confirmed by Kantar Worldpanel as the region’s fastest-growing retailer, Lidl Northern Ireland credits its growing market share to investing in its local store and supplier network and maintaining a robust supply chain to bring its Big on Quality, Lidl on Price proposition to even more shoppers across the region.
“Our last financial year marked a period of solid investment in delivering on our ambitious growth plans for the region. We opened two new stores in Belfast and Holywood and revitalised a further five stores across the region in line with our modern ‘concept’ store designs which prioritises space and sustainability and offers our growing customer base a more comfortable shopping experience. We’re well placed to deliver on our ambition of 50 stores by the end of this decade.”
Last year, Lidl Northern Ireland confirmed a £32 million investment for the Greater Belfast area in opening three new stores at Crumlin Road, Boucher Road and Holywood Exchange as well as revitalising its premises at Castlereagh Road and Shore Road. The retailer also announced a further £26 million investment into the North West region including opening a brand-new state-of-the-art store in Buncrana Road in Derry~Londonderry, progressing with plans for an additional nearby store in Crescent Link and Strabane.
Buoyed by a long-established strategy to build a strong local supply chain, Lidl Northern Ireland continues to develop its growing network of more than 50 local suppliers from which it sources almost £300 million worth of goods each year.
“Lidl Northern Ireland is proud of its robust and agile local supply chain. We’ve worked to develop this over two decades and our approach to sourcing locally has helped to shield us from some of the supply issues that other retailers faced over this period. Sourcing such a large volume of our products locally has meant that we haven’t been as reliant on imports. We were pleased to be in a strong position and able to maintain supply of great quality and great tasting, local products over the past 12 months, and look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come”, said Mr Scally.
“We remain committed to supporting local food and drink producers and we plan to continue to invest in the local agri-food industry through our dedicated Kick Start Supplier Development Programme which aims to support small and medium sized producers and open up export opportunities for wider industry growth.”
Lidl Northern Ireland has also significantly invested in its people over the last 12 months, growing staff numbers to more than 1,000 employees for the first time and implementing a range of industry-leading initiatives and benefits packages for staff including paying three separate Covid bonus payments to all staff in an investment worth more than £300,000. Earlier this year, Lidl Northern Ireland was named a Top Employer for 2021 by the Top Employers Federation.
The announcement comes on the back of the retailer being the first supermarket in the region to confirm it is exceeding the Real Living Wage recommendation, committing to a new entry hourly rate of £10.10, twenty pence higher than the recommended £9.90 rate announced last week by the Living Wage Foundation.
With a focus on delivering value for customers, Lidl Northern Ireland launched its Lidl Plus rewards programme earlier this year, offering shoppers further savings at the till point. The retailer also continues to invest in its communities through its dedicated Community Works programme and charity partnership with NSPCC Northern Ireland, committing to raising more than £600,000 in vital funds to support the charity’s services across the region.
“All of this contributed to significant growth in our revenue and profits and positions us well for further growth in the years to come. Looking forward, we remain confident in our strategy and we continue to see tremendous opportunity in the market to further grow our market share and expand our supplier network and employee base in Northern Ireland”, commented J.P. Scally.
Lidl Northern Ireland contributes around £180 million a year to the local economy, sustaining 3,500 jobs while buying and exporting as much as £290 million worth of local goods and products.
The company employs more than 1,000 employees across its 41-strong store network and Regional Distribution Centre in Nutt’s Corner, Co. Antrim.
J.P. Scally, Chief Executive of Lidl Ireland and Lidl Northern Ireland and Conor Boyle, Regional Director Lidl Northern Ireland.