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Lidl sets sights on expansion

After Scotch whisky helped Lidl to achieve record UK sales of more than £4 billion in 2014, the discount retailer has signalled plans for further growth in this market.

This week Lidl announced its £10 million acquisition of a five-acre site in Tolworth, south-west London, which will house a new head office for more than 750 employees by the end of 2018.

Confirming this move against the backdrop of a “stellar” trading year, Lidl highlighted the successful performance not just of its UK stores, but also exports of UK goods to its stores in other parts of Europe. This included £30m of British cheese and £100m of Scottish whisky.

Lidl UK’s CEO, Ronny Gottschlich, pointed to a “phenomenal increase in sales over the last 12 months” as he commented: “We are firmly committed to helping boost the British economy by sourcing from the UK and continuing to create new jobs for local people.

“We’re a smart and adaptable business and, after our most successful year yet, we’re investing back into the business and into our employees. That way, we can ensure that we have the solid foundations we need to continue to serve our ever growing customer base who have, quite rightfully, come to expect the very best from us. Our intention is to consistently surprise our customers and continually exceed their expectations.”

The news follows an indication from Ben Hulme, Lidl’s UK head of beer, wine and spirits, that the company was considering a move into the booming online sector, as the retailer seeks to build on the 38% uplift in wine sales since launching its premium range last year.

2015 has already seen Lidl seek to bring in yet more middle class shoppers with the introduction at the end of June of a craft beer range fronted by Blur bassist and food writer Alex James.

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