Discount retailers are benefitting from the global downturn as shoppers around the world continue to trade down, according to a report.

Schwarz, owner of the Lidl supermarket chain, climbed three places in the Deloitte report, from 10th to seventh, with sales of US$69.34bn (£47.43bn). Over the past five years it has grown at a faster rate than any of the present top 10, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.6 per cent.

Rival value supermarket chain Aldi also made it into the top 10, replacing Sears in the 10th spot.

Deloitte Research director of consumer business Dr Ira Kalish said: “Consumers will be intensely value-oriented. For all retailers, this environment will require added attention to keeping costs under control.”

The report, which ranks the 250 largest retailers in the world by sales in 2007, also revealed that 44 of the retailers experienced declining sales in 2007, compared with 36 in 2006. Out of the top 250 retailers, 14 were unprofitable in 2007, twice as many as the year before.

US behemoth Wal-Mart remained the world’s largest retailer, followed by French giant Carrefour, UK market leader Tesco, which is the only British retailer in the top 10, and German retail giant Metro.

Kalish said further growth for the world’s leading retailers would come from gaining ground in their home markets or moving into new and emerging markets. “In the coming years, we may see second-tier retailers as well as more non-food retailers take the plunge [into emerging markets],” he said.