- December sales top 1.4 billion pounds
- Highlights strong sales of fresh meat, desserts, cheese
- Pledges lowest UK grocery prices in 2023 'no matter what'
LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - The British arm of German discount supermarket group Aldi said its sales in December rose 26% compared to the previous year, reflecting the opening of new stores and consumers' search for savings in a cost-of-living crisis.
Aldi UK, privately owned by Aldi Sud (ALDIEI.UL), also committed on Tuesday to offering shoppers the lowest grocery prices throughout 2023 "no matter what".
The group, which has over 990 stores and a market share of 9.3%, last year overtook Morrisons to become Britain's fourth largest supermarket chain.
It said its sales topped 1.4 billion pounds ($1.67 billion) in December for the first time.
It highlighted strong growth in sales of fresh meat, with fresh poultry and pork options both up over 28%.
It said sales of chilled desserts and fresh cheeses jumped by almost 30% and 50% respectively, while sales of snacks such as crisps and nuts were up over 40% as the men's soccer World Cup coincided with the run up to Christmas for the first time.
"This year, Christmas was all about family and football as people came together to celebrate in a way we've not enjoyed for years," said CEO Giles Hurley.
Aldi and fellow German rival Lidl have grown rapidly in Britain over the last decade, forcing the established major supermarkets - market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - to compete more aggressively on price. Tesco and Sainsbury's both have schemes that match Aldi prices on key products.
Monthly industry data has consistently shown Aldi and Lidl as the fastest growing UK grocers during the cost-of-living crisis as consumers attempt to make their budgets stretch further.
Also unlike their traditional rivals, Aldi and Lidl are still opening lots of new stores.
However, investment to keep a lid on prices has dented profit at both Aldi and Lidl.
"As we head into a new year, our promise to customers is that they will always get the UK's lowest prices at Aldi, no matter what," said Hurley.
UK inflation is running at 10.7% and consumers face the prospect of a tighter squeeze in 2023, with higher taxes and mortgage rates and scaled back government support on household energy bills.
Tesco and Sainsbury's are scheduled to update on Christmas trading next week.
($1 = 0.8364 pounds)
Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle, Sarah Young and David Evans