Lidl owner Schwarz Group has ambitious expansion plans for the discount grocer in Italy through a wave of investment and store openings.

Lidl owner Schwarz Group is betting big on Italy and has ambitious expansion plans for the discount grocer in the country.

Schwarz plans to invest €1bn (£733m) in Italy over five years and aims to open 15 more stores there by the end of this year.

Lidl has been in Italy for 24 years but Schwarz last week unveiled plans for another wave of expansion.

Around 2,000 extra staff will also be hired over the next two years as part of the move, reported. The additional roles will be across more than 570 of its stores and include regional director and headquarter positions.

Lidl at present has around 11,000 employees in Italy and 10 distribution centres.

The retailer has given its logo in Italy a national feel, using the colours of the country’s flag, while around 70% of products sold there are from domestic producers.

Writing for Retail Week last year, Kantar Retail analyst Bryan Roberts argued that the key to Lidl’s success across Europe is that it has tailored its offer on a country-by-country basis.

Lidl’s annual sales in Italy totalled €2.73bn (£2bn) in 2013, while profits were up 5.5% to €27.7m (£20.3m).