Lidl has bold plans to open another 230 stores in bid to take on giants

Lidl’s expansion spree is set to accelerate, with the German discounter planning 230 extra store openings.

First reported yesterday in the Sunday Times, the plan is the latest in a string of bold moves from Lidl and Aldi, which have been snapping up an increasing share of the grocery market.

In a bid to challenge the UK’s largest supermarket chains, Lidl is forging ahead with plans to grow its footprint to 1,000 stores over the next three years.

Christian Hartnagel, UK boss of the grocery chain, plans to open the extra stores in the next three years, taking its total to 1,000 by 2023. That accelerates Lidl’s growth plans after it previously said it would open 50 to 60 stores a year.

Lidl and fellow discounter Aldi continue to spread across the UK despite the efforts of Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda to narrow the price gap that has allowed their upstart rivals to undercut them dramatically.

Aldi plans to open about 50 stores a year for the next two years, and between them the discounters now account for 14% of the UK grocery industry, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel. That is up from just over 5% in 2008.

The UK’s big four supermarkets,Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, have faced growing pressure from Lidl and Aldi as they enter new markets in the UK.

The German companies initially focused their expansion on areas where land was cheap, but are now pushing harder in London and the southeast, where the higher rents have historically acted as a deterrent. In recent years, they have both invested more heavily in their premium ranges, which has helped draw in more affluent shoppers.

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