By Scott Wright

Grocery chain Aldi has pledged to “always offer the lowest prices for groceries, no matter what” as the UK faces a growing cost of living crisis.

The commitment was made by the German-owned discounter, which along with Lidl has used competitive pricing to eat into the UK market share held by its more established rivals, as it reported its “best ever” Christmas for sales.

The grocer said yesterday that sales had risen by 0.4 per cent in December compared with the same month in 2020, when spending was higher than usual in stores because of the national lockdown and the temporary closure of bars and restaurants to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Citing market analyst Kantar, Aldi declared that it was the only major supermarket to have grown sales in December; sales at Aldi were up 8.1 per cent on the same month in 2019, the retailer said.

Aldi’s commitment to low prices comes as UK consumers contend with surging inflation, and are bracing themselves for huge hikes in energy bills and an increase in national insurance from April.

A poll for The Observer newspaper found that 70% of voters said their cost of living had increased more than their income in the last year.

The UK Government is coming under pressure to implement a support mechanism to protect consumers from surging energy prices, but has so far ruled out calls to cut valued-added tax on bills.

Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK, said: “As we look ahead, the top priority for most families this year will be managing their household budgets in the face of rising living costs. As the cheapest supermarket in Britain, Aldi will always offer the lowest prices for groceries, no matter what, and continue to support our British farmers and producers.”

Aldi said the return of its popular Kevin the Carrot to its Christmas TV advertising had helped it to attract more than half a million new customers to its shops. The retailer said it sold more than 43 million mince pies, 21 million British pigs-in-blankets and 118 million Brussels sprouts in the run-up to Christmas. Shoppers bought more than than 5.5 million bottles of Champagne, sparkling wine and Prosecco.

Mr Hurley added: “There’s no doubt that 2021 was a long and difficult year for lots of people, but our amazing colleagues stopped at nothing as they came together to deliver the Christmas that our customers deserved.”