Director of Aldi's UK division steps down as growth falters

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The Independent Online

The managing director of Aldi UK and Ireland has stepped down after 20 years at the discounter. Armin Burger, the chief executive of Aldi Austria, has already replaced Paul Foley.

The departure of Mr Foley comes as sales growth at the discounters Aldi and Lidl has slowed, following juggernaut revenues last year. A spokesman for Aldi UK said Mr Foley, who will pursue new business interests, was "widely credited as challenging and changing traditional market perceptions to establish Aldi as a leading brand".

Tesco was so concerned about shoppers switching to Aldi in the recession that it launched hundreds of discount brands last September, calling itself "Britain's biggest discounter". For the 12 weeks to 13 July, Aldi and Lidl's sales rose by 8.3 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively, according to a survey by TNS Worldpanel. This was behind Morrisons' 9.5 per cent, Asda's 8.1 per cent, Sainsbury's 7.7 per cent and Waitrose's 8.2 per cent, but ahead of Tesco's 5.7 per cent.

In June, Ed Garner, of TNS Worldpanel, said there were signs that shoppers had adopted "a more measured approach to the recession and started to revert to pre-recession behaviour". He added: "The stellar growth of Aldi and Lidl has tailed off and both outlets are seeing their rate of growth eclipsed by Sainsbury's and Morrisons."

In June 2008, Aldi and Lidl posted sales growth of 20.7 per cent and 12.8 per cent, respectively.