Aldi has recorded surging Christmas sales, pushing the discounter over the £10bn total sales mark in the UK and Ireland for the first time.

The value grocer recorded a 15% rise in sales in the month of December bolstered by a 30% uplift in sales of its Specially Selected range.

The discounter’s chief executive Matthew Barnes said the strong performance of its premium food offering “surpassed all expectations”.

Aldi’s premium top-sellers included mince pies and Aberdeen Angus beef joints.

“This is a clear sign that shoppers knew they could indulge in Christmas treats and festive essentials at Aldi for a fraction of the price they would pay elsewhere,” said Barnes.

The value retailer sold 6.8 million bottles of wine, Champagne and Prosecco during the period, 4 million mince pies and 100 million packs of vegetables.

Aldi’s festive sales bonanza meant that in 2017 the discounter surpassed £10bn total sales for the first time.

“This was our busiest-ever Christmas as millions of festive shoppers switched to Aldi from more expensive food retailers,” said Barnes.

Living Wage hike

Following its bumper Christmas sales, the grocer has unveiled plans to increase the pay of it store staff in accordance with recommended rates from the Living Wage Foundation.

Starting from February 1, the discounter’s London-based store assistants will be paid £10.20 an hour, while colleagues nationally will be paid £8.85 an hour.

Aldi, which currently has 762 UK stores, is also pressing on with aggressive bricks-and-mortar expansion in the year ahead as part of its strategy to have 1,000 UK stores by 2022.

“We see significant capacity for further growth as there are still more than 400 towns and cities across the UK without an Aldi store,” said Barnes.

“Shoppers in these areas consistently tell us they would shop at Aldi if they could, and we are committed to meeting this demand for new Aldi stores.”