Lidl to open five new stores and biggest warehouse to date in London offensive
Lidl is set to open five new London stores and and build its largest UK warehouse to date in a move that the supermarket says underlines the "scale" of its expansion plans in Britain's capital.
The German-owned grocery chain said the new sites - located in Shepherd's Bush, Walthamstow Central, South Ruislip, Hornchurch and Rosehill - will open within the next two months, though the launch date for its new warehouse has yet to be set.
The company has exchanged contracts for the 58-acre Luton site with consortium Houghton Regis Management, and is now planning for a one million square foot warehouse that will be Lidl's largest in the UK and double the size of any of its distribution centres in Britain.
Once completed, the warehouse will be the supermarket's fourth for Greater London and create up to 1,000 new jobs.
Lidl UK said the plans highlighted "the scale of the supermarket's ambitious expansion plans in London".
David Skinner, managing director of UK real estate at Aviva Investors - which forms part of the Houghton Regis consortium - said: "We are delighted to have secured Lidl as an owner occupier on this important strategic land site.
"The wider consented scheme has consent for over 5,000 homes and, following the recent opening of the new M1 motorway junction, we intend to commence development in early 2019."
Plans for the new warehouse form part of Lidl UK's £1.45 billion investment, which has been earmarked for expansion plans in Great Britain between 2017 and 2018.
The retailer's board director for expansion and development Ingo Fischer said: "As more London households choose to shop at Lidl we are committed to the continued investment in our operations and infrastructure to support our growth.
"With five new stores opening in the next two months alone, and further store expansion and development plans in place for the Greater London area across the new financial year and beyond, this new warehouse is vital in supporting our ambitious expansion plans in and around the M25."
Two new regional warehouses were opened in Exeter and Wednesbury last year, while plans are in the works for further distribution centres in Doncaster, Bolton and Peterborough.
Construction has already started on sites in Avonmouth and Eurocentral, Scotland which are each set replace existing warehouses in Weston-Super-Mare and Livingston.
The German discounter's expansion is expected to solidify its standing as the UK's fastest-growing supermarket, increasing the pressure on Britain's Big Four - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons.
In early autumn, Kantar Worldpanel figures showed that Lidl UK's sales rose 19.2% year on year, reaching a market share of 5.3%, while two-thirds of shoppers visited a Lidl or its rival, Aldi, in the preceding three months.
The two retailers now account for almost £1 in every £8 spent in Britain's supermarkets, up from £1 in £25 a decade ago.