The current recession, caused by bankers, is a silver-lined cloud for German discount stores Lidl and Aldi as more middle-class Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose customers discover how much extra they have been paying on basic items and branded goods.

Market analysts IGD have found that nearly 40% of ABC1 households will use the stores this year compared with 30% of those from C2DE households. On this basis the UK still has some catching up to do since in Germany the figures are 80% and 95%.

Aldi – the word is a contraction of Albrecht Discount, named after owners Karl and Theo Albrecht – have 421 stores in the UK and a world revenue of £42 billion. Lidl – named after a former business partner of founder Joseph Schwartz when the original choice of Schwartz Markt (Black Market) had negative connotations for many – copied the Aldi concept when it opened its first store in 1973 and have 420 UK units and a world revenue of £52 billion, making the Schwartz Group the 5th largest retailer in the world.

Clearly there’s money in helping people save it. However it might be interesting to get some data on any increase in the number of middle-class shoppers discovering that street markets selling fruit and vegetables in metal bowls, often containing a kilo or more, for £1, can offer even more savings.

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