Discount grocer Aldi has recorded a 16.8 per cent sales uplift in the first two months of the year.

The German grocer also reported a 12.2 per cent rise in shopper numbers in January and February. Aldi opened its 400th UK store last week and said the typical customer basket has increased by about a third in the past six months.

Aldi UK and Ireland group managing director Paul Foley said: “Usually, during economic uncertainty, people retire into their comfort zones and stick to what they know. This isn’t the case, as we’re finding more of our shoppers are using us for their whole shop instead of top-up shopping, as they switch from the supermarkets and brands they are more familiar with.

“More consumers are understanding the Aldi offer: that we sell high quality own-labels in a no nonsense way to offer everyday essentials at affordable prices.”

According to TNS Worldpanel, Aldi recorded year-on-year growth of 16.3 per cent for the 12 weeks to March 22.

Aldi will invest around £200m this year in its store expansion and refurbishment programme. Foley said: “Food price inflation is likely to lead to more people stepping out of their supermarket comfort zone in 2009 as they look to cut costs. Continuing to open Aldi stores will provide more consumers with the option to avoid downtrading as they strive to save money while maintaining grocery quality.”