Business Irish

Friday 14 December 2018

Hurley to head up Aldi in UK and Ireland

Giles Hurley
Giles Hurley
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Aldi Ireland veteran Giles Hurley has been named as the retailer's chief executive officer for the UK & Ireland.

He'll take over from Matthew Barnes, who has been promoted to the co-ordination board of parent company Aldi South, the German discounter said yesterday.

Mr Hurley, inset, has up to now overseen almost 130 Aldi outlets in Ireland, having joined the group as an area manager 18 years ago when there were just five shops here.

Mr Hurley is an Aldi stalwart and has held down roles such as training director and group buying director. He will take up his new post on May 1.

In his new role Mr Barnes will oversee the UK, Ireland and US markets.

Mr Hurley (42) lives in Warwick in England and has been commuting regularly to Ireland and Scotland in his role as an Aldi managing director with responsibility for the two countries.

Meanwhile, Mr Barnes, who is credited with overseeing the supermarket's meteoric rise from upstart to challenger to the so-called Big Four, has been promoted to the "co-ordination board" of Aldi South, the parent firm of the grocery giant's UK and Ireland operations.

He will also join the board of Hofer KG, which acts as management holding for Aldi's Austrian and international shareholdings.

Aldi, alongside fellow German chain Lidl, has caused major headaches for Tesco, SuperValu and Dunnes Stores over the past two decades in Ireland, grabbing market share and driving competition by offering cheaper prices and extending supermarkets into smaller towns that had historically often been overlooked by the established grocery chains.

According to figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel, Aldi has a share of around 11pc of the Irish grocery market in terms of value of sales, virtually neck-and-neck with rival German discounter Lidl.

It means each of the German grocery chains has around half the sales of the big three Irish chains here.

In the UK, Aldi has plans to plough further funds into launching 70 new UK stores and recruiting 4,000 staff this year.

Aldi doesn't split out its numbers for Ireland, but is understood to have wafer-thin margins. Aldi's combined UK and Ireland operation posted revenue of £8.74bn (€9.9bn) in 2016 and a £255.6m (€289.5m) profit. Irish sales are reckoned to make up about €1.4bn of the total. Aldi, along with Lidl did well from the downturn and has so far managed, despite the recovery, to hang on to shoppers who were coaxed away from the established supermarkets.

Irish Independent

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