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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

New report reveals Lidl’s operations in MEA contributed £61.7m to £360m economy boost in 2023

Lidl ni staff

Lidl Northern Ireland’s operations in the Mid and East Antrim borough contributed £61.7m to a region-wide £360 million boost to the local economy in 2023, a new report has revealed.

The findings were published in a specially commissioned report by Oxford Economics and Lidl Northern Ireland to directly examine the retailer’s growing impact and capture its value to the local economy as it marks 25 years since opening its first store in Northern Ireland in May 1999 in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

The major impact report also revealed that the retailer procured £127.3m of goods and services across the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area, providing a major boost to the export efforts of local suppliers.

As part of its milestone celebrations, the retailer announced a further investment of £150 million into expanding its presence across new towns and cities within Northern Ireland and upgrading and revitalising its existing store network over the next three years.

For every £1 generated from its store network, an estimated additional £1.20 is supported through this strong multiplier effect, ensuring significant GVA impacts are retained within the Northern Ireland economy.

Over the past decade, turnover at the company has increased at an annual average rate of 11 per cent, reaching a record £492 million in 2022/23.

J.P. Scally, Chief Executive Officer Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland said:

“As we mark 25 years of Lidl Northern Ireland, we’re proud to share the findings of this latest economic impact report which not only affirms our position as a leading retailer and employer, but which cements our commitment to delivering for everyone in the region.

“Since day one, our aim has always been to offer consumers the very best quality produce at market leading value whilst operating sustainably and delivering tangible impacts for the communities which we serve.

“Today, we can clearly see the fruits of our labour and I’m very proud of the significant impacts we have delivered for the wider Northern Ireland economy and, importantly, our customers who continue to vote with their feet and choose Lidl Northern Ireland.

“With consistent growth propelling us to a current market share of 9.1 percent, we’ve enjoyed phenomenal success and that’s down to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic employees across the region, as well as our incredible Northern Irish suppliers who have grown with us and continue to champion the highest quality produce.”

Other key findings in the report measured Lidl Northern Ireland’s impacts across its people and local suppliers.

Now among the region’s largest employers, Lidl Northern Ireland sustained 6,900 jobs and directly employed almost 1,300 people in 2023 – up around 50 percent across Northern Ireland in the past five years.

Nearly a third of Lidl Northern Ireland’s workforce was aged 24 or under compared to the national average of just 12 percent, whilst it also saw an increase in number of employees aged 45 or over – growing from 9 percent of its total workforce in 2018 to 14 percent last year, underscoring Lidl’s commitment to developing a diverse, and multi-skilled team.

Additionally, almost a quarter of Lidl Northern Ireland employees live in deprived area for education, skills and training or employment.

The retailer paid in excess of £1.4 million in wages in 2023 in the Mid and East Antrim borough and, across Northern Ireland invested around £200,000 and 11,000 hours in employee training and development, including launching a brand-new retail skills programme with NOW Group to provide people living with autism or learning difficulties experience in retail and a pathway to employment in the sector.

As a major supporter of the agri-food industry, Lidl Northern Ireland significantly boosted its impact, procuring almost half a billion pounds (£498 million) across Northern Ireland, representing a rise of 36 per cent since 2018. Of this, 80 percent of the goods are shipped outside the region, supporting the export efforts of more than 50 local suppliers.

The report’s author Neil McCullough, Associate Director, Oxford Economics said:

“Lidl Northern Ireland continues to trailblaze the local supermarket retail sector and this report clearly demonstrates the impressive strides the retailer has taken particularly in the last five years – significantly growing its economic contribution and dramatically growing its workforce. It’s clear to see that Lidl Northern Ireland’s proposition resonates locally and its remarkable growth will solidify its position as a leading local retailer for many years to come.”

Over the last quarter century, Lidl Northern Ireland has grown exponentially to become a significant player, capturing almost a tenth of the local grocery market and welcoming over half a million shoppers every week, with its high-quality, low-price brand proposition continuing to resonate locally.

Since 2018, the retailer has been named the region’s fastest growing supermarket retailer, with 41 stores across every county and a Regional Distribution Centre in Nutts Corner, County Antrim.

With longstanding ambitions to reach 50 stores by the end of the decade, Lidl Northern Ireland today confirmed a fresh investment of £150 million into expanding its presence across new towns and cities within the region and upgrading and revitalising its existing store network.

Of this landmark investment, over £2.5 million will be ring-fenced to deliver a major transformational project to install modern shelving which will significantly increase shelf space to facilitate new product lines, offering customers even more choice at great quality and value.

Ivan Ryan, Regional Managing Director, Lidl Northern Ireland added:

“Lidl has come a long way since our first outlet in Northern Ireland opened in 1999. Throughout the past quarter of a century, it has been a sustained story of growth, and we have no plans to stand still.

“As we look to the next 25 years, we’re delighted to announce a new investment of £150 million into further expanding our presence in the region, creating employment, boosting the economy and opening up access to our quality products at low prices for even more shoppers across the region.”

As part of this investment, Lidl Northern Ireland will open a refurbished and upgraded new store at its existing Cookstown location, 25 years after the doors first opened to the island of Ireland’s first ever Lidl supermarket.

The retailer is also progressing construction plans for a new flagship store at Boucher Road, the first in South Belfast, as well as a newly developed retail park at Carryduff. Plans have also been submitted to develop new stores at Bangor, Dungannon, Craigavon and Coleraine.

Lidl Northern Ireland now holds a 9.1 percent market share and has seen the strongest growth amongst all retailers, up 21.3 percent year-on-year, according to retail information analysts Kantar.


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