Aldi is set to create 2,000 new jobs next year in addition to 7,000 created in the last two years, as part of a £1.3 billion investment drive.

The discount supermarket chain made the investment announcement, which will run for two years, as bosses revealed sales soared 10.2% in the UK and Ireland in 2020 to £12.3 billion.

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Bosses added the number of customers during the period increased from 17.6 million to 17.8 million, although pre-tax profits fell 2.5% to £264.8 million.

No details on trading in the first nine months of 2021 were immediately provided.

Whilst other UK-based supermarkets give more regular updates on current trading, Aldi is not obliged to and is instead publishing last year’s results as it files its accounts with Companies House.

Giles Hurley, chief executive for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600 million in stores and distribution centres across the UK.

Aldi boss Giles Hurley said profits fell due to investment during the pandemic (Aldi/PA)

“This helped to create thousands of much-needed jobs and support for British farmers and manufacturers.

“Whilst the cost of responding to the pandemic dampened profits, our decision to return business rate relief was the right thing to do.”

Aldi repaid the business rates saved from the Government’s scrapping of the tax during the pandemic, following similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Lidl.

Looking forward, the supermarket announced its click and collect services have been rolled out to 200 stores, offering shoppers the chance to order online for the first time – although home deliveries are still not available.

A new checkout-free store is also planned in Greenwich, London, it said.

As part of the £1.3 billion investment over the next two years, bosses said this would include around 100 new stores added to the 920 sites already operating.

The expansion of its logistics infrastructure includes a new 1.3 million sq ft site in Leicestershire.

There was no initial mention by Aldi of any supply chain issues or suggestions of price inflation, although the company said it had reduced prices to the tune of £238 million last year.