Aldi store

Source: Aldi

Aldi is now just three stores shy of 1,000

Aldi is weeks away from achieving its long-term goal of having 1,000 UK stores, with the final three scheduled to open between now and early September. 

A flurry of openings since June has taken the discounter’s UK store number from just over 990 to 997, putting it on the cusp of hitting a target it set in 2014. 

The latest new sites include a beachfront store which opened last week in Porthcawl, Wales, with a wave-shaped roof designed to make the building more harmonious with the location. The store, which has a 15,000 sq ft retail area, also uses local limestone external stonework and timber-clad supporting columns for a shopfront canopy, according to Aldi planning documents.

Latest Kantar data this week showed Aldi to be the fastest-growing supermarket for the third month in a row, with its sales up 24% year on year in the 12 weeks to 9 June. Its market share stood at 10.2%, up from 9.1% a year earlier. 

Aldi had originally aimed to reach 1,000 stores by 2022, but needed more time thanks to unforeseen challenges including delays in securing planning permission and availability of suitable sites. 

Both Aldi and Lidl – the second fastest-growing supermarket, with sales up 22.3% in Kantar’s latest 12 weeks – have had their store opening plans disrupted by a barrage of planning objections from traditional supermarkets, who have been losing shoppers to them in the cost of living crisis. In December, The Grocer revealed 37 proposed new Aldi stores across the country were being held up by planning objections or judicial reviews raised by rivals. At the same time, Lidl’s new store plans had been subject to 87 objections, eight pre-action protocols and four judicial reviews raised by competitors since 2020.

Aldi has a longer-term target of 1,200 stores by the end of 2025. However, in March this year a spokeswoman acknowledged the timing of that could also be affected by factors outside its control, though 1,200 remained the long-term goal.

Rival discounter Lidl is aiming for 25 new stores throughout the course of 2023, a significant reduction compared with its usual annual pipeline of about 50. The supermarket has said it is focusing investment on warehouse expansion, with its biggest DC ever due to open in Luton in August. The pressure of high interest rates on Lidl’s parent the Schwarz Group is also thought to be a factor in the slowdown.

Lidl had opened 15 of the 25 new stores scheduled for this year by April, taking its estate to over 960. It also has a long-term target, of 1,100 by the end of 2025.