Aldi promises bigger stores

Aldi supermarket Aldi grocery store shopping

Aldi is building its biggest-ever store in the UK, and says it'll be the first of many the same size, making them less of a squeeze for customers.

The store, in Louth, Lincolnshire, will be an impressive 19,000 square feet, with a sales area of 13,498 square feet. That's 2,500 square feet bigger than most of its current stores. There will be parking for more than 100 cars.

The site's now being cleared, and building work is expected to start in April, with the store scheduled to open in October. It's expected to employ as many as 50 people.

"This will be the new standard size for all future Aldi UK stores," says Aldi's property director for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Mark Taylor.

"Previously the average size of our stores was 16,500 square feet, but this new larger size will enable us to display our products in a more consumer friendly way."

Last summer, the discounter announced plans to go head-to-head with the major supermarkets with a £600 million expansion. It's planning to open 60 new stores this year, with new regional distribution centres in Barnsley and Cardiff.

Existing stores will have a major refurbishment, and staff numbers are expected to double to 24,000.

But that's just the start - over the next eight years, the company's planning to open as many as 550 new outlets and take on another 35,000 staff.

Overall, however, there's a trend for supermarkets to get smaller. Customers are increasingly abandoning the 'big shop', and buying more often from smaller stores - when they're not buying online, that is.

And with financial pressures hitting them hard, the major supermarkets are responding with caution: according to the CBRE, proposals for new floor space last year were at their lowest level since the start of the financial crisis.

"The reason for the shift to smaller stores is in part a response to changing consumer shopping patterns but also because they are require less capital expenditure to deliver, have less impact on trade of existing stores and are easier to secure planning," says CBRE director Chris Keen.

Aldi's strategy of expansion stands in stark contrast to Tesco's plans, with the UK's biggest grocery chain recently announcing that it was to close 43 stores and abandon the opening of many more. But the company can afford to be confident: new figures from Kantar Worldpanel this week reveal that its market share is still rising, and now stands at 4.8%.

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Aldi promises bigger stores
Shopping starts long before you leave the house. Check the fridge, freezer and cupboards, then draw up a list of all the meals you plan to make and eat during the week (making sure you include any leftover perishables in those meals). That'll tell you exactly what you need to buy. This isn't everyone's favourite activity, but you'll be astonished how much less you buy - and crucially how much less you end up throwing away. This process typically cuts 5% off your grocery bill.
Supermarkets are entirely designed to make you do this, with flashy displays at the door, and discounts heaped high on the end of each aisle (they're put here because they know it takes a while to turn your trolley so they have longer to catch your eye). There will be new products and special offers which will sorely tempt you, but everything extra you buy will mean you either eat more or have more to throw away more at the end of the week.
There are three levels of products: the branded ones (including the premium supermarket ranges), the own-brands, and the own-brand value range. The best way to shift down is to move down one rung of the ladder on everything you buy - so if you usually buy branded baked beans go for own-brand, and if you usually buy own-brand, go for the value own-brand.
Most people choose a supermarket out of either convenience or habit. However, switching to a cheaper supermarket could be the easiest way to save. No one supermarket is cheaper for everything across the board. However, as a very rough rule of thumb Asda is the cheapest of the big players - it regularly wins awards for this (and did so last year), and it also has a pledge, which promises that the items you pick that are part of its scheme will be 10% cheaper than elsewhere or you can claim the difference. If you are willing to go beyond the big players, the discounters are substantially cheaper, so it's worth trying Aldi or Lidl to see what you could save.
Of course, no supermarket is cheaper for absolutely everything. And in some instances the supermarket is not the cheapest place for your food - local markets for example can offer much cheaper fruit and vegetables.

You'll need to get to know your local independents, but the best way of being sure of getting a good deal at the supermarkets is to do your research before you go. lets you compare prices for Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Aldi and Ocado.

You'll need to put your shopping list into the site, which is a bit time-consuming the first time you do it but gets quicker once you have saved your favourites. It will tell you the cheapest places for your shopping - leaving you to choose whether to make more than one trip or to go with the supermarket that is cheapest for the most of your items.
There's definitely a right and wrong way to do this. The right way is to search for vouchers, coupons and deals for things you already need to buy. Alternatively, you can keep an eye out for BOGOF deals on things you regularly use (as long as they aren't perishable), and stock up on them. This can be useful for things like toiletries - just don't be tempted to switch to a more expensive brand in order to do this unless you have checked that the deal constitutes a saving from your usual brand at its usual price.
Supermarket deals are not simple to compare, so you could easily find yourself trying to work out if 350ml of something at 58p is cheaper or more expensive than 250ml of something at 46p. For most people this isn't the kind of maths that's easy to do on the fly. The only solution is to take a calculator and work it out - unless you want to focus on building world-class mental arithmetic skills.
Your careful list-making will not always go to plan, so if you end up eating something different one night, think about what you will do with the food you had planned to eat. Can you cook it and freeze it? Can you substitute it for another meal? Likewise with the leftovers, have you factored these into your eating plan? Or will you need to freeze it for next week?
This is classic advice for a reason. Research has shown that if we eat before we go we buy 18% less food. So have a sandwich and shave almost 20% off your bill.
If you are good at managing your credit cards, then shopping using a cashback card can be a great way to earn back money on your shopping. It's worth emphasising that in order for this to be a money-spinner you'll need to pay it off in full and on time every month. However, this is something that disciplined shoppers should definitely consider.

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