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Lidl posts £2 million pre-tax profit for Northern Ireland stores

'We have seen very strong growth over the past number of years in Northern Ireland, but 2020 has certainty taken that to another level' - JP Scally

2020 was an "exceptional" year for Lidl, the supermarket chain's Irish boss has said.
Ryan McAleer

SUPERMARKET chain Lidl recorded a pre-tax profit of £2 million in Northern Ireland in the 12 months leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The German-owned group posted a turnover of £278m from 39 stores for the year ending February 29 2020, with staff levels reaching 936 in that period.

The figures emerged from a new set of accounts filed by Lidl Northern Ireland after the retailer set up a dedicated limited company in the north as part of its preparations for Brexit.

Previously it operated in the north as a subsidiary branch of the German group. The chief executive of Lidl Ireland, JP Scally said the move was made “out of an abundance of caution”.

He said 2020 had been “an exceptional year” for Lidl, with sales growing by around 20 per cent though the pandemic phase.

“We have seen very strong growth over the past number of years in Northern Ireland, but 2020 has certainty taken that to another level, given the conditions we have seen with Covid-19.

“There has been a huge increase in our turnover.”

Supermarket analyst Kantar recently estimated that Lidl’s Northern Ireland sales grew by 19.7 per cent in 2020.

Mr Scally said its early indications confirmed that estimate was on target.

“It is around the 20 per cent growth mark, which is very significant obviously, which of course has led to an increase in our head count as well.

“We’ve hired a few hundred since the start of 2020 and we just announced this week we will hire another 170 in 2021.”

Meanwhile Lidl’s operation in Great Britain today said it slumped to a £25.2m pre-tax loss for the year to February 29 2020.

The losses came after Lidl spent £654m adding another 51 stores and a new warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland, while it also increased its GB workforce by 8 per cent to 23,249 as it hired nearly another 1,800 employees.

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