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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Aldi accelerates London openings

Discounter reveals plans to increase number of stores in capital from 45 to 100 by end of 2025 amid series of major investments

Aldi accelerates London openings

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Aldi has announced plans to double its store footprint within the M25 as its distribution network grows and sales continue to rise.

The supermarket said it would increase store numbers in London from 45 to 100 by the end of 2025, by opening a combination of standard-sized and smaller-format Local stores in locations including Sydenham, Blackheath and Watford.

The chain currently operates over 840 stores nationwide, with plans to open more than 100 new stores over the next two years as part of its long-term target of reaching 1,200 stores by the end of 2025.

Aldi’s sales for the UK and Ireland increased 11 per cent to £11.3 billion in the year to 31 December 2018 against UK grocery market growth of just 2.5 per cent, but the retailer saw its pre-tax profit fall by 18 per cent due to price cuts and investments in infrastructure.

Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “Whilst our expansion will continue to reach every part of the UK, we’re increasing our focus on London, where our market share is just 3.4 per cent, compared to 8.1 per cent nationally. 

“London shoppers regularly tell us they would switch to Aldi if there was one nearby, so there is clearly a significant growth opportunity for us in the capital.” 

The discounter said trials of its Local stores, which measure around half the size of a typical store and stock around 1,500 products, had exceeded expectations since the format was launched in March 2019.

Commenting on the company’s future plans, Giles Hurley added: “For almost three decades we’ve proven that investment equals growth – investment in our infrastructure, our people and our prices. 

“The commitment we have made to our customers to continue investing in the UK over the coming years remains as strong as ever.”

The supermarket, which opened its first UK store in 1990, reported investments of £531m last year, with a further £1bn planned in 2019 and 2020 in new stores, store upgrades and distribution centres. 

In addition, the discounter is continuing to roll out its Project Fresh initiative – a £300m investment to create more in store space for fresh, chilled and food-to-go ranges, as well as simpler layouts, improved fixtures and brighter, wider aisles. 

Over half of existing stores have been converted to the new format with the remaining stores being converted by the end of 2022.

The company is also preparing to open a new Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) in Sawley, Derbyshire, shortly, and another in Bedford in the coming years, having recently opened its a site in Sheppey, Kent. Meanwhile, extensions have been made to distribution centres in Darlington in County Durham and Bathgate in Scotland.

The retailer’s UK-wide expansion is expected to create more than 5,000 new jobs over the next two years.

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