Supermarket chain Aldi has reported that its operating profit increased to £178.7m ($218.65m) in the 12 months to December 2022, compared to £60.2m the prior year.

The group figure for UK & Ireland represents a margin of 1.2%.

The company’s annual sales increased by almost £2bn to £15.5bn during the period.

Aldi also revealed plans to open 18 new locations before the end of this year.

The expansion will take the company’s investment in the UK over the next two years (2023-2024) to £1.4bn.

Aldi will also expand its distribution and store network and improve existing store and technology infrastructure to facilitate growth.

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Recently, the retailer said that it will open up to 500 more stores across the UK.

The expansions will generate 6,000 new jobs in total this year.

Aldi UK and Ireland chief executive officer Giles Hurley said: “Although inflation is easing, households are still under real pressure from higher living costs. As a result, Britain is shopping very differently from how it did 18 months ago – fewer trips, more own-label products and switching supermarkets in search of better value.

“What we’re seeing is a new generation of savvy shoppers who’ve turned their back on traditional, full-price supermarkets in favour of transparent, low prices, which is what we’re famous for. That’s why we’re still welcoming more and more customers through our doors – people who come to us for our low prices but stay for the award-winning quality of our exclusive brands.

“Shoppers know they’ll always get more for their money at Aldi. That’s a promise we’ve kept for more than 30 years.”

Aldi operates more than 1,000 UK stores.

This year, the retailer invested more than £350m in price reductions across 650 products.