Discount retailer Aldi looks set to outpace the big four this year as it ramps up plans for further expansion by opening 60 new stores in the UK this year.
While the chain opened its first UK outlet 25 years ago, it was not until the onset of the financial crisis – and the subsequent decline in living standards – that the established players started to take the rival seriously. The discount supermarket’s rapid pace of expansion is in stark contrast with Tesco, which earlier this year announced it was scrapping almost 50 stores as it seeks to recover from an accounting scandal last year.
Aldi’s plans to open 60 new stores equates to around 1m sq ft of shop space, compared to Asda’s 550,000 sq ft, the highest of the big four.
The move comes amid studies that reveal a change of consumer shopping habits in recent years as people increasingly shun traditional supermarkets for smaller sized stores and online.
This shift has benefited Aldi, which has traditionally operated stores of between 3,000 sq ft and 15,000 sq ft.
The established rivals have taken note, however, with 54 per cent of all new supermarket floorspace to be added in this category.