Discounters Aldi and Lidl have revealed record Christmas trading as cash-strapped shoppers looked to cut the costs of their festive celebrations.

Aldi hailed its “best ever” Christmas performance, with UK sales of more than £1.5 billion for the first time in the month leading up to Christmas.

The chain, which has more than 1,010 stores across the UK, said sales lifted 8% year on year in the four weeks to December 24.

Its fellow German-owned rival Lidl also claimed its best Christmas yet, reporting year-on-year UK sales growth of 12% in the four weeks to December 24.

The supermarket, which has more than 960 stores in the UK, said it saw around 4.5 million more shoppers come through its doors and cheered its busiest ever trading day on Friday December 22.

But inflation accounted for some of the firms’ sales growth, with recent official figures showing food prices rose by 9.2% in November, though this was down from 10.1% in October.

And despite the record trading, their sales growth was down sharply on growth seen in Christmas 2022, when inflation was running at a 45-year high.

A year ago, Aldi posted a 26% jump in sales over December, while Lidl saw sales rise by 24.5% in the four weeks to December 25 2022.

The groups are the first out of the stalls with their Christmas trading figures, with the Big Four supermarkets yet to report.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s will reveal their sales performance next week, on January 11 and January 10 respectively, while Marks & Spencer will also post its festive trading update on January 11.

Aldi said the performance “capped a remarkable year” for the group, which now has a 9.6% share of Britain’s supermarket sector according to recent Kantar data, and it pledged to cut prices further this year.

Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “As we look ahead to 2024, our promise to customers is that they will always make significant savings on every shop with Aldi because we have the lowest grocery prices in Britain.”

The group said alternative roasting joints were particularly popular, with strong sales of its Specially Selected wagyu rib joint and a 25% jump in sales of its Specially Selected crackling gammon joint.

It added that 42 million pigs in blankets were also sold in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Lidl also claimed it saw its “best Christmas yet”, with shoppers increasingly trading up to its premium own-label products over the season, as sales across its Deluxe range jumped 11% year on year between September 10 and December 24.

Ryan McDonnell, chief executive of Lidl’s UK operations, said: “I’m incredibly proud of our performance this Christmas in what was the busiest trading period in our history.”

“Deluxe proved to be a standout winner this Christmas with record-breaking sales as we saw customers not only start their festive celebrations early but trade up to premium lines across all categories,” he added.

The discounters have been ramping up the pressure on the so-called Big Four players in the supermarket sector this year, with shoppers increasingly looking to make savings in the face of high inflation.

The latest data from Kantar showed that Lidl was the fastest-growing grocery firm in the 12 weeks to November 26, with its market share leaping to 7.8% from 7.4% a year ago.

Lidl said it sold a British turkey every two seconds in the week before Christmas, with 2,000 tonnes of potatoes and 1,600 tonnes of carrots also snapped up by customers.

The group said Christmas merchandise also proved popular, with jumper sales up 40% in the month to December 24 and Christmas socks becoming the best-seller in the range.