German discount supermarket chain Aldi is to create over 1,000 jobs in Ireland over the next few years boosted by the construction of a new distribution centre and office facility.

The jobs boost will come from a EUR350m (US476.2m) expansion programme, which includes a distribution centre and 35 stores throughout the country.

Around 400 jobs will be created in the construction of the distribution centre, 160 within the facility and 490 in the stores.

Construction began this week as Aldi reported sales growth of 23% in the first quarter of 2009, with strong demand for its Irish sourced products, which now account for 40% of all grocery sales at the company.

Donald Mackay, managing director of Aldi Stores Ireland, said: “We have a strong commitment to Ireland and to this market. We have no hesitation in continuing to invest in Ireland with full confidence that a stronger, more sustainable economy will emerge from the current recession.

“We already employ 1,200 people in Ireland and we will see this reach almost 2,000 over the next three years. These are real, sustainable jobs supporting families in Ireland.”

The 56,905 square metre distribution facility will service Aldi’s southern stores throughout Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Clare. Construction is expected to take 22 months to complete, with plans to open in early 2011.

“Commencing the construction of our new distribution centre is an important step in delivering our three year expansion programme,” Mackay said.

“We chose to locate in Mitchelstown due to its highly skilled workforce and excellent infrastructure. We are looking forward to strengthening our ties in Munster and becoming an integral part of the business community.”