Lidl plans new HQ as it reports record turnover

Discounter goes from strength to strength

Generic, stock picture of a member of the public carrying a Lidl Supermarket shopping bag in London....

Discount supermarket chain Lidl has reported its highest ever turnover in the UK, and has announced plans for a new head office five times the size of the present one.

The new office, in Tolworth, southwest London, will be finished by the end of 2018. The company paid £10 million for the five-acre site, which it bought from Kingston council.

By the time of the move, Lidl expects to have taken on another 100 head office staff, bringing the number up to 500. However, the 220,000 square foot building will be able to house up to 750 - nearly twice as many as its existing headquarters in nearby Wimbledon.

"The extra office space will ensure room for further development within our head office departments and will provide top of the range amenities along with excellent training and conference facilities," says director of property and development Ingo Fischer.

Over the last year, the discount chain's sales have rocketed, with turnover up 21% on last year at over £4 billion. The company says it's both attracting new customers and persuading existing ones to spend more.

But it's also exporting local products to its stores overseas, including £30 million of British cheese and £100 million of Scotch whisky.

Lidl doesn't publish full accounts, so its profit figures aren't available.

The company's market share has risen steadily over the last few years, and now stands at nearly 4%, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

"We've had a phenomenal increase in sales over the last 12 months, which is not just encouraging for us, for our employees and for our suppliers, but also for the areas that we continue to invest in with new stores and warehouses – and now with our new head office," says UK chief executive Ronny Gottschlich.

"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."

The German chain first opened in the UK in 1994, and now has more than 620 stores - with plans to almost double that number. This latest expansion shows quite a contrast with Tesco and Morrisons, which have both announced plans to cut back on head office staff.

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