Discount grocer Aldi aims to open 70 stores and hire an additional 5,000 staff this year as it continues its offensive against the big grocers.

The openings will take Aldi to a store count of more than 600 from 560 at present.

This year’s plan is part of Aldi’s ambition, revealed in November last year, to double UK store numbers over an eight-year period and create 35,000 jobs.

The number of openings planned for 2015 is slightly ahead of what was envisaged then, when between 60 and 65 shops were targeted.

Aldi’s expansion this year will create roles for 150 store managers and 300 assistant store managers, the Telegraph reported.

Another 4,500 full and part-time staff will also be employed.

Aldi will pay store managers salaries starting at £35,800 and rising to £56,500.

Ruth Doyle, Aldi regional managing director, said: “Aldi has seen rapid growth in recent years and with more store openings planned it’s important that we attract the right candidates for the store management roles.”

Aldi, like counterpart Lidl, has been growing fast as shoppers have switched to its limited assortment value offer.

Aldi controls 4.8% of the UK grocery market according to the latest Kantar grocery data, an increase of 20% year on year.