Aldi has reported its “most successful Christmas” to date in the UK with total sales up 30.1% driven by a strong fresh produce offer.

The discounter said fresh produce, as well as a broadened product range, had driven strong sales in the 12 weeks to December 23.

The news follows Nielsen data released earlier this week that showed Aldi now holds 5% of the UK grocery market – its highest share since it opened its first UK store in 1990.

Aldi has added 30% more products to the range including an increased number of weekly staples. The discounter said its average basket is only one or two items smaller than a typical Sainsbury’s basket.

Aldi’s premium range is also showing growth. Sales in its Specially Selected brand increased by more than 50% in 2012.

Aldi’s UK managing director for buying Tony Baines said: “We had an 18% rise in the number of AB households shopping at Aldi in 2012 compared to 2011.

“However, we appeal to a broad range of customers. People across the country are interested in saving money and are attracted to Aldi because of our brand-like quality products and consistently low prices. They know they can get their full weekly shop at Aldi for around 30%-50% less than the other supermarkets, without compromising on quality.” 

Last year Aldi employed an extra 4,500 employees and the retailer is hoping its rapid growth will continue in 2013, opening a further 40 stores.