Aldi and Lidl continue to press ahead with their ambitious UK growth plans. According to data from Barbour ABI, Lidl submitted 68 planning applications for new stores last year, and Aldi 60. The Big Four lagged behind with a total of 20 (Tesco eight, Sainsbury’s seven, Morrison’s four and Asda one). Property cost issues and an excess of floor space from larger stores have contributed to their decision to scale back.
The applications submitted are predominantly for smaller convenience stores. The majority of the few plans for larger stores came with extra units for other retailers, café’s, petrol stations and leisure opportunities. Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, says: “The discount retailers continue to dominate the supermarket space race even if they’re not as active as 2015, which saw them commit to rapid expansion. Their appetite for investment matches their highly ambitious growth plans as they continue to challenge the established order in the supermarket sector.”