Aldi Porthcawl

Source: Aldi

An Aldi store that opened recently in Porthcawl, Wales

Aldi has set a new estate growth target, of 1,500 UK stores, as it opens its 1,000th today in Woking, Surrey.

As the country’s fastest-growing and fourth biggest supermarket, attracting two-thirds of Brits as shoppers, Aldi said it aimed to open more stores in more parts of the UK to meet growing demand. A further 20 are to open before the end of the year as part of its £1.3bn two-year investment plan.

Aldi’s 1,000th store was originally scheduled to open in 2022 but Aldi UK and Ireland CEO Giles Hurley told The Grocer last September that the timeframe had been disrupted by delays in securing planning permission and site availability.

Aldi has not set a deadline for the new 1,500-store target, beyond calling it “long-term”.

It has also been pursuing a target of 1,200 by the end of 2025.

The 1,000th opening and new target comes in the same week Lidl opened its world’s biggest distribution centre, in Luton. The developments mark a change of tack for Lidl this year, slowing its store openings from the usual annual pipeline of about 50 to 25, and investing instead in warehouse capacity. Lidl currently has over 960 UK stores.

Read more: The riddle of Lidl and its faltering plans to take over

“Our popularity is growing, and there is huge demand for people to have an Aldi store near to them to increase shoppers’ access to our unbeatable prices,” said Aldi’s Giles Hurley.

“The next phase of our expansion will involve another 500 new stores over the coming years. It is a long-term target and is not a ceiling to our ambition to have an Aldi store close to everyone in the UK.”

Aldi opened its first UK store in Stechford, Birmingham, in 1990.

The Woking store is one of over 150 sites Aldi stores now has in the South East.