UK: Aldi ‘stepping up search’ for new store sites as part of £400m push
Aldi is to invest £400m in store development over the coming year as it opens and refurbishes branches.
The discounter said today it was “stepping up its search for new sites across the country as it aims to continue rolling out new stores at pace”. It is Aldi’s third announcement of expansion ambitions in as many weeks since The Grocer revealed Lidl was dramatically scaling back store openings this year. Lidl has said it intends to focus investment on distribution capacity and will open 25 stores in 2023 – instead of the usual 50 – while property sources have told The Grocer the unofficial number coming from the retailer is eight. Last week, Ronny Gottschlich, Lidl’s UK CEO from 2010 to 2016, said it meant Lidl had effectively conceded to Aldi in the battle to be the UK’s dominant discounter.
Aldi – which has about 990 stores to Lidl’s 950 – today also listed its most wanted new locations, including in the Midlands, north west, north east and Yorkshire.
Aldi’s store openings have also slowed in recent years, with challenges in securing planning permission and finding suitable sites causing it to fall short of a target of 1,000 stores by 2022. Its estate has numbered ‘more than 990’ since the start of the year, with 40 in the pipeline for 2023, according to the retailer.
Aldi and Lidl have been pursuing store number targets for the end of 2025, of 1,200 and 1,100 respectively. Aldi told The Grocer today it still wanted 1,200 stores by the end of 2025, but stopped short of saying it was on track to reach the number within the timeframe.
“Having 1,200 stores remains our long-term target, but there are obviously factors outside our control that will impact the timings of that,” said a spokeswoman.
“Expansion programmes aren’t always linear and it’s difficult to predict the precise number of stores we will open each year, but our will, capital and appetite to achieve it by 2025 is unwavering.”
Aldi CEO Giles Hurley said: “Demand for Aldi has never been higher here are still some towns and areas that either don’t have access to an Aldi or have capacity for additional stores. “To meet that demand, we need to open more stores and it’s our mission to keep driving our ambitious expansion plan to achieve that.”
Aldi remained the fastest-growing supermarket in new Kantar data published this week, with sales up 26.7% in the 12 weeks to 19 February, pushing its market share to a record 9.4% and widening the gap on Morrisons’ 9%.
Last week Aldi said it wanted to “almost double” its 60-store London estate in the long term. The week before that it said would create more than 6,000 new jobs this year.
Aldi has also 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.
Source: the Grocer
More details can be found at aldi.co.uk/about-aldi/property.
Aldi’s current priority locations are:
4. Cathcart, Glasgow
5. Drylaw, Edinburgh
15. St Albans
26. Tunbridge Wells