Value grocer Lidl is back in the black and has revealed a new target for store numbers.

Lidl GB reported annual pre-tax profits of £9.8m, compared to a loss of £25.2m the previous year when it invested heavily in store openings and recruitment. Lidl’s sales climbed 12% to £7.7bn in the year to February 28.

The grocer now aims to have 1,100 stores by the end of 2025, which it said would create about 4,000 new jobs. At present Lidl, owned by international food giant the Schwarz Group, has 880 UK branches.

Lidl opened 55 shops last year, “despite challenges in the pandemic”, and repaid about £100m of business rates relief that it received during the pandemic. Lidl also launched a rewards app for smartphones, and upgraded store layouts to feature more fresh products.

In the current year, Lidl has set targets to decarbonise its own operations and supply chain, ”aligned to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2030” and to increase sales of healthy and healthier products to at least 85% of total sales by 2025.

Lidl GB chief executive Christian Härtnagel said: “We delivered an impressive trading performance in the period which was supported by our continued investment in new and existing stores, product innovation and our people.

”Looking ahead, we remain confident in our strategy, our stores-first approach and we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide our customers with the best quality products at the lowest prices.

”We continue to see tremendous opportunity in the market and that is why today we are announcing our new target of 1,100 stores by the end of 2025. We’re really excited to bring our Lidl offering to even more towns and cities.”