Aldi, the German discounter that became a byword for the shift to value in the recession, has suffered a dramatic reversal of fortune, turning a £93m pre-tax profit in the UK and Ireland into a £54m loss last year.
The disastrous performance, revealed in documents obtained by Retail Week, reflects a difficult year for the discount retailer, during which it parted company with two managing directors, Paul Foley and Armin Burger.
Despite its moment of fame in the recession, Aldi’s struggles show how the continental hard discounters have found it difficult to make real inroads against the might of the UK’s big four.
While they have prospered in mainland Europe, the sophisticated value offers and better store environments of Tesco and Asda have made it harder to make progress.
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