UK: Aldi aiming to ‘almost double’ its London store count
Discount Retail Chain Aldi aims to “almost double” its 60-store London estate, creating about 2,400 jobs. The discounter has reiterated its finder’s fee for suitable sites, of either 1.5% of the freehold price or 10% of the first year’s rent for leasehold sites. It would mean a £22,500 fee for finding a location that leads to a £1.5m freehold purchase.
The discounter is looking for 20,000 sq ft sites for its standard store format as well as much smaller units of as little as 5,000 sq ft for its Aldi Local stores. The larger sites will preferably be on a prominent main road with good visibility and access, and room for a 100-space car park.
A spokesman said the supermarket was also targeting a wider brief of properties, including empty office blocks, in light of changed working patterns. He said Aldi would “bring lower food prices to more Londoners” by “ramping up efforts as others scale back”. It is a clear signal of intent from Aldi, for the second time in a week, that it will press on with store openings at pace as rival Lidl slows.
Both discounters have aimed for about 50 news stores a year for a number of years but, as revealed by The Grocer earlier this month, Lidl is now planning just 25 in 2023, with property sources predicting only sites already agreed to will be completed. Lidl has said it will focus investment on warehouse capacity instead.
The news was followed by Aldi announcing last week that it will create 6,000 jobs this year as it opens “dozens” of stores across the country. Until recently, both discounters were also toe-to-toe in a race for sites in the south east of England, the region that accounted for nearly one in three of each of their store openings in 2022, according to data location analytics firm Maximise UK.
With both making big gains from traditional supermarkets in the cost of living crisis, the prize for reaching more customers in new places has never been bigger. Aldi’s market share has climbed from 7.8% to 9.2% in the past year, and Lidl’s has grown from 6.2% to 7.1% [Kantar 12 w/e 22 January 2023].
Aldi has about 990 UK stores, while Lidl has about 950.
“We strongly believe that access to affordable, high-quality food is a right, not a privilege,” said Aldi regional MD Ben Shotter. “But we’re conscious there are still many areas, particularly in the capital and within the M25, that don’t have access to an Aldi. “As a result, too many people have to make do with big prices at the big supermarkets. We want to give more people a new Aldi store with our award-winning products at unbeatable prices. We are looking for locations across the UK, but particularly in London.”
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