For what seems like years now, the story of Lidl (and indeed fellow discounter Aldi) has seemed like one of unrelenting progression.

But even the most successful businesses cannot defy gravity forever.

Lidl reported a loss of £75.9 million for its most recent financial year which owed a lot to the bracing economic headwinds the UK has faced over the last 18 months and its own determination to keep prices low and support its own employees amid the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

The discounter, which has more than 100 stores in Scotland, tumbled into the red as it spent nearly £50m to increase the minimum hourly pay rate for store colleagues (ensuring it remained the highest-paying supermarket in the UK), and around £100m to ensure prices remained keen at the till.

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GB chief executive Ryan McDonnell underlined that treating shoppers, staff and suppliers was sacrosanct to Lidl and the importance of maintaining the price gap between it and its traditional grocery counterparts, even during times of steep inflation.

And there is ample evidence to show that the strategy is working, with the grocer increasing its market share in the UK to 7.1% from 6.1% (it has increased to nearly 8% since year-end) and more and more shoppers coming through Lidl’s doors.

Further investment in pay rises, store openings, staff recruitment, and logistics expansion has been made in the current year as the company looks to further strengthen its position in the UK.

While stock market listed rivals such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s face pressure from the City to make profits in the short-term, Mr McDonnell noted that Lidl’s ownership structure means it can take a different approach.

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He explained that because it is privately owned, Lidl has 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.”

Lidl’s accountants may wince at the sight of such a hefty loss in last year’s accounts, but the grocer is clearly willing to take a bit of short-term pain for long-term gain.