Aldi is set to score a design first when it opens what is believed to be the UK's first underground supermarket later this year.

The Germany-based discount chain has lodged a planning application for the new store, which is to be located on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The supermarket will be adjacent to Edinburgh's famous Corn Exchange concert venue, and will also be Aldi's first store located in the Scottish capital.

The main body of the new store, which will be a standard size for Aldi at 10,000 sq ft, will be sunk into the ground in order to avoid spoiling views of the centuries-old grazing ground above.

"The plans will preserve the key views of the neighbouring buildings and will be landscaped to fit in with the local environment and maintain the feeling of open space," said Markus Beher, Aldi's regional managing director for Scotland.

The store will also feature an intricately designed sloping grass-topped roof that will make it all but invisible to onlookers from certain angles. Customers will enter the sunken store through a glass-fronted area at ground level before taking escalators down to the shop floor.

The store, which is expected to cost in the region of £2m to develop, will also feature a 72-space customer car park.

Consultants from retail design agency Fitch told the World Retail Congress in Barcelona last month that building stores below ground level would become a key trend in store design.