Aldi promises to continue to offer lowest prices despite big drop in profits

Aldi has pledged to continue to offer the lowest grocery prices in the UK despite suffering a steep fall in profits.

The supermarket chain's chief executive, Giles Hurley, told Sky News: "We've made a very clear commitment that we will always charge the lowest prices in the UK, no matter what. And that's a contract we have with our customers."

The company revealed annual pre-tax profits for 2021 fell to £36m, down more than 86% from the previous year.

Mr Hurley said that despite the fall in profits he was "very proud" of what his company had achieved.

"It was a year where we put people before profits and we made the right decisions," he said.

"We looked after the health and wellbeing of our customers. We rewarded our staff who toiled tirelessly during the pandemic. We also invested in price and we continue to expand our business."

The company says that over the past 12 weeks it has attracted 1.5 million extra customers to its stores.

Earlier this month Aldi overtook Morrisons to become the fourth largest supermarket in the UK in terms of market share, behind Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

Speaking on the day the pound fell to a record low against the dollar, Mr Hurley said: "Clearly the latest government announcement has had a big impact on the pound from what we can see.

"We're actually better placed than most businesses in terms of being insulated and the main reason for that is that around 75% of what we sell comes from UK based suppliers and producers."

However, he said the supermarket's buying department is "working tirelessly to shield and protect customers from the impact of inflation".

"Inflation is going up across the economy, across the market and of course across retail and we're not immune from that," he added.

Asked if there was any point at which the supermarket would increase prices, including if the business was operating at a loss, Mr Hurley replied: "I think it's very well publicised that as a business we've always been clear that we'll do whatever it takes to have the lowest prices in the UK and nothing will change that."