Lidl planning to invest heavily in Northern Ireland: Conor Boyle
Retaining its status as Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket since 2018, Lidl Northern Ireland has enjoyed another year of stellar growth and unrivalled success, says Conor Boyle.
Lidl Northern Ireland’s Regional Director reflects on the company’s success and looks to what the future holds as it continues to deliver on its ambitious plan to open and revitalise stores across the region, bringing its winning Big on Quality, Lidl on Price brand proposition to thousands more customers.
2021 has been a remarkable year for Lidl Northern Ireland. Despite the challenges of Brexit and the pandemic, our detailed preparations and responsiveness to changing market conditions ensured we emerged stronger than ever, reporting sales growth of more than 12% – the highest of all four main supermarkets here.
As a mark of our achievement, Lidl Northern Ireland was delighted to receive the award for Retail Company of the Year at the Business Eye Awards 2021 and have our unrivalled commitment to our customers and suppliers acknowledged at an industry level.
This year marked an unprecedented period of investment as we delivered on our ambitious plans to revitalise our existing store network and drive a series of new store openings across the region. Sustainability is core to our business and we are investing in a programme to upgrade a number of existing stores, focusing on energy efficiency and performance optimisation to significantly reduce our store network’s carbon footprint.
Expanding our presence has also allowed us to expand our team and in 2021 we reached a key milestone – growing our team to more than 1,000 for the first time. We also made a significant announcement to exceed the recommended Living Wage hourly rate for customer and warehouse assistants and we were delighted to deliver a third Covid bonus payment to all employees in recognition of their hard work during these uniquely challenging times.
We know that our success is down to our great team and this year we were honoured to be certified by the Top Employer’s Institute as a Top Employer for 2021 in recognition of our commitment and efforts in providing a better world of work.
Not only do we look after our people, but we’re focused on supporting our local communities through our dedicated Lidl Community Works programme. A key pillar of this is our charity partnership with NSPCC Northern Ireland. Since 2017, we have raised more than £600,000 in support of the charity’s vital services across the region. Additionally, our Sport for Good programme has supported more than 80 sports clubs and schools across Northern Ireland and provided more than £220,000 in funding over the last two years to encourage more young people into sport.
Looking ahead to 2022, we see great opportunity to grow our business further and extend our supplier network and employee base in Northern Ireland. We will continue to deliver on our commitment to build a network of 50 stores by the end of this decade and to revitalise our existing stores in line with our sustainability objectives.
The outlook for the industry is positive and we recognise that we have a role to play in leading recovery of the sector and supporting the Northern Ireland economy. Above all, we remain focused on investing heavily in the region to ensure more Northern Irish shoppers have access to our market-leading value and high quality, award-winning products for many years to come.
Caption: J.P. Scally, Chief Executive of Lidl Ireland and Lidl Northern Ireland, and Conor Boyle, Regional Director Lidl Northern Ireland