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BERLIN, May 13 (Reuters) - Germanys Schwarz Gruppe, the owner of discount retailers Lidl and Kaufland, said on Monday its sales grow 7.4 percent in 2018 and that it planned to keep investing heavily despite a challenging environment.
The Schwarz group posted 2018 sales of 104.3 billion euros ($117.4 billion), exceeding the 100 billion euro mark for the first time, as the Lidl chain grew 8.8 percent and Kaufland hypermarkets expanded 1.6 percent.
After hitting saturation at home, Lidl and rival German discount chain Aldi have been expanding rapidly in other countries, especially in the United States and Britain, where they have been taking market share from major national players.
The group invested 7.5 billion euros in 2018, mostly in opening 400 new stores and renovating others. It said it did not plan to cut back on investment in 2019, when it expects similar growth despite "a perpetually challenging environment."
Founded in 1973, Lidl operates more than 10,800 stores in 29 countries, while Kaufland has 1,300 in seven European countries.
The Schwarz group said the figures included waste management for the first time after it bought waste disposal company Toensmeier last year, which generated over 500 million euros in sales, with a target to reach 750 million in five years.
($1 = 0.8886 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark Potter)