German discount chain Aldi, which moved into the Irish Republic late last year, is strengthening its challenge to the major players in the sector, Tesco and Dunnes. Aldi stores in Dublin and Cork are now joined by one in Letterkenny, County Donegal. Another five sites are under development and Aldi has announced plans for a regional distribution centre for the Irish market. When unveiling its store plans last autumn, Aldi indicated that by 2001 it would have developed a regional distribution centre in Dublin at a cost of IR£l5-£20m. But the high cost of building land in the Irish capital has prompted a rethink. Instead, Aldi has taken a five-year lease on a 75,000 sq ft warehouse facility, plus 12,000 sq ft of office space, in the Dublin suburb of Sandyford, which will operate as a temporary distribution centre until it builds its own. The company's long-term aim is to have about 40 stores in the Republic by the end of the decade. {{NEWS }}