Schwarz Group, the owners of discount supermarkets Lidl and Kaufland grew much faster than the competition in 2004, according to the Financial Times Deutschland.

Citing, ‘informed circles,’ the paper said the group had achieved a turnover target of 40bn euros (US$53bn), compared with 36bn in 2003. The growth will astound critics who say that Schwarz cannot maintain its high rate of growth, the paper said.

The growth is primarily outside Germany, the paper said. Lidl’s growth is mostly from the opening of new branches. In Germany its sales growth is weak, the paper said.