Aldi claims that its €350m drive to expand in the Republic of Ireland creating hundreds of jobs is being frustrated by "planning difficulties".

The opening of a €100m RDC in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, has been postponed from next year to 2013. The centre would cater for 35 new stores in the planned expansion but "difficulties in the planning process" meant far fewer stores had opened than planned.

The discounter would not go into detail about the difficulties but is understood to be angry about the length of time taken to get permission for stores, as well as the large volume of objections and appeals mostly by local retailers that must be overcome.

Similar criticisms have been made by the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency, which both argue that a speedier, simpler system would encourage newcomers into the sector and create more competitive pricing.

Aldi entered the Irish market at the same time as Lidl in 1999 and business has thrived during the recession. Their combined share of the Irish grocery sector is around 8%, with 200 stores between them.

Aldi's planned DC on a 32-acre site outside Mitchelstown would serve stores in five counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.