SUPERMARKET chain Lidl has revealed they saw an annual loss last year after investing heavily in stores and expanding its workforce.

The German-owned discounter opened a store in Blackburn on September 24, 2020 on the former site of Fix Auto Blackburn.

The opening created 40 new jobs and has been a part of the company’s UK expansion and regeneration plan.

The store, based on Furthergate Works on St Clement Street, has a 1,256m² sales area and features facilities an in-store bakery, longer-style tills, customer toilets and a baby changing area.

The European supermarket chain said it slumped to a £25.2 million pre-tax loss for the year to February 29 2020, against profits of £19 million the previous year.

Since the end of the 2019/20 year, Lidl has ramped up its UK operations further, opening more than 50 new stores as it targets a network of 1,000 by 2023.

It now has more than 800 stores and 13 distribution centres.

Christian Hartnagel, Lidl’s UK chief executive, said: “Whilst the world has changed considerably since this financial period, our driving focus remains on offering customers the best quality products at the lowest prices in the market.

“We will continue to focus on providing customers up and down the country with this, as we grow our store estate, logistics and operations.

“We are confident in our strategy and see huge potential in the market long-term and will continue to hire more colleagues, invest in British suppliers, open more stores and become an integral part of more communities.”

It said its UK workforce increased by 8% to 23,249 as it hired nearly another 1,800 employees, while the group also said it spent £654 million adding another 51 stores and a new warehouse in Motherwell.