German discounter Lidl is to equip its UK area managers with iPads featuring a specially designed in-house app after investing £500,000 as part of the Lidl Mobile Office initiative.

The managers in the grocer’s sales division will be able to access sales information on the retailer’s head office system through the tablets in what the grocer claims is a UK grocery first.

The retailer said that the move allows managers additional time to focus on individual store performance and development.

It added the move will cut paperwork, improves efficiency and aid communications between its sales, logistics and head office functions.

The iPads will be rolled out in the UK from March 20 after being trialled in Germany.

A Lidl spokeswoman said: “Our area managers will have an innovative device at their fingertips, which will ease their daily workload and save them valuable time. Using the technology in this way has made us a frontrunner in the food retail industry.”

Lidl this week began trialling a new budget range, including meat and condiments, named Simply in its UK stores.