LIDL has plunged into the red after a steep rise in costs and funding millions of pounds of price cuts in its latest financial year.

The German-owned discounter, which has more than 100 outlets in Scotland, reported a loss of £75.9 million for the 52 weeks ended February 28. It made a pre-tax profit of £41.1m the year before.

Lidl said the results underline its investment in prices, colleagues, suppliers, and future growth.

The period saw the grocer invest nearly £50m to increase the minimum hourly pay rates for store colleagues and more than £100m to keep prices low amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. It also maintained its expansion programme, with the company opening nearly 50 new stores, more than any other supermarket over the period.

READ MORE: Rules for short-term lets 'may breach human rights law'

The investment was made as Lidl expanded its share of the UK grocery market to 7.1% from 6.1%, which came as revenue leapt by 18.8% to £9.3bn. It is currently the sixth biggest grocer by market share in the UK at 7.6%, behind Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, and Morrisons, according to data from retail analyst Kanta for the 12 weeks ended September 3, 2023.

Ryan McDonnell, chief executive of Lidl GB: “We've always had a clear commitment to offer the best value to our customers and that is a promise we will always keep, even in uncertain economic times. Alongside preserving this price promise, rewarding our people, and maintaining long-term relationships with our suppliers will always be a priority. As a privately-owned business we have the ability to make decisions that we know will have immediate benefits for our people, customers and suppliers and long-term benefits for our business.”

The company noted that since year-end it has increased hourly pay rates for a third time in 12 months. Store and warehouse colleagues now earn a minimum of £11.40 outside London and £12.85 outside the M25, with Lidl saying the raises take its combined investment in pay over the year to £60m.

READ MORE: Bold plans for Scotland's new towns should be embraced

It added that it has recruited more than 6,000 further staff since the start of the year.

The grocer launched in the UK in 1994 and now has more than 31,000 employees, around 960 stores, and 14 distribution centres in Scotland, England, and Wales.

Mr McDonnell added: “As a company, we’re entering an exciting new phase of growth where we are bolstering our infrastructure to sustain us for the long term and hiring thousands of new colleagues too.

"Next year will mark 30 years of Lidl in Great Britain, and there is no ceiling on our ambitions for the next 30 as we see the potential for hundreds of new stores across Great Britain. In many ways our brand has never been more relevant. We are, and will continue to be, a discount retailer maintaining a relentless focus on providing our customers with great quality at unbeatable prices.”