Discount retailer Aldi has announced plans to recruit 500 employees this year and open seven new Irish stores.

The roles are for area managers, store managers, assistant store managers and store assistants.

Aldi also said that, from the beginning of February, it will pay its employees a minimum rate of €11.90 per hour, matching the living wage rate recommended by The Living Wage Technical Group.

Aldi has been Ireland's highest paying supermarket for over a decade with store employees earning up to €14. 

The German retailer has grown its share of the Irish grocery market to 10.8% and it saw an additional 270,000 new customers in its stores last year.

Separately from the new store openings, Aldi said it is also investing €60m in revamping and refurbishing its existing store network.

Giles Hurley, CEO Aldi UK and Ireland, said the company recognises the immense contribution that its thousands of store colleagues make each day. 

"We have always provided our employees with market-leading pay rates and will continue to do so.  We are committed to offering the best pay and benefits in the industry," Giles Hurley said.

"Our expanding store portfolio, market performance and new Project Fresh stores demand that we continue to future proof our business with the best people in retail," the Aldi boss added.