Protecting cabinets stocked is “tougher work than ever earlier than”, the UK boss of Lidl has stated as shortages of drivers, warehouse staff and meals processing employees put strain on grocery provide chains.
Christian Härtnagel, chief government of the German low cost chain’s British arm, stated issues with availability of merchandise in shops had eased prior to now 10 to 12 weeks and “the worst instances are behind us” however “day by day arduous work” was nonetheless required to make sure there have been no gaps on cabinets.
He stated the corporate was continuously having to hunt new methods to work round issues, by simplifying ranges and different measures, as a mix of the pandemic, Brexit and commerce disruption continued to have an effect on companies.
Lidl final week stated it might be investing £18m to extend wages for its lowest-paid staff, from £9.50 to £10.10 an hour exterior London and £10.85 to £11.30 throughout the M25 from March 2022, as a part of efforts to retain and recruit employees in a extremely aggressive market. That comes on prime of £8m invested in pay rises final 12 months, in addition to a £9.5m one-off thanks fee and reward voucher for employees in recognition of their efforts in the course of the pandemic.
The retailer is to tackle about 4,000 additional employees because it continues to open a retailer per week for the following 4 years, to achieve a complete of 1,100 shops within the UK by 2025.
Härtnagel stated Lidl wished to open shops “from London to Scotland and right down to Southampton”, with its predominant give attention to 1,300-sq-metre retailers. He added that it was not contemplating small comfort shops.
The group stated gross sales elevated 12% to £7.7bn within the 12 months to 28 February 2021. It additionally made pretax income of £9.8m, springing again from a lack of £25.2m a 12 months earlier than, regardless of returning £100m in enterprise charges aid.
Härtnagel stated the income turnaround was the results of robust gross sales and “a laser give attention to our enterprise mannequin” with out the distraction of residence deliveries.
He stated on-line orders made up about 12% of the overall grocery market within the UK, down from a peak of just about 15% final 12 months throughout pandemic-related excessive road lockdowns, including that he anticipated that share to decrease additional.
“In future 90% of the market shall be bricks and mortar and that’s nice for us,” he stated.
The grocery store chain is investing in digital enlargement with the launch of its Lidl Plus loyalty app. It has additionally registered the Lidl Go identify for an app that will assist buyers scan and pay for items with out having to go to a until. Härtnagel stated Lidl was “exploring and dealing on” the service however there have been no plans for a launch at current.