Aldi is disputing claims that it and rival discounter Lidl did worse than expected over the Christmas period, as shoppers shunned their 'overcrowded' stores.
Stockbroker Shore Capital told the Times that sales at Lidl are believed to have dropped by 4%, while those at Aldi have stayed flat. And the reason, said the firm, is that stores are understaffed and overcrowded, and look as if 'they've been robbed by a load of school kids'.
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Both stores did well in the run up to Christmas, with Kantar Worldpanel calculating that in the 12 weeks to December 4, Aldi's sales rose by 10%, while Lidl saw sales growth of 5.7%. This gave Aldi a market share of 6.2%, and Lidl 4.6%.
But Shore Capital claimed that shoppers then abandoned the stores over the Christmas period itself.
However, Aldi has hit back against the accusations, saying that this Christmas was its best ever."Our colleagues did a fantastic job of managing the unprecedented demand we experienced from shoppers over the Christmas period," says a spokesperson, adding, "The claims made by Clive Black, whose firm represents Morrisons, bear no relation to reality."
And in a trading update released today, the company says that sales rose by 15% in December, making for a record Christmas trading period. It says its "specially selected" premium range saw sales rocket by 27%.
Aldi's Christmas dinner was rated the cheapest this year by Good Housekeeping, which UK chief executive Matthew Barnes describes as a major draw.
"The people of Britain were very clear on what they wanted on their dinner tables this Christmas - unbeatable value premium-quality products and the lowest prices on festive essentials," he says.