Discount chain Lidl, which has seen its Irish market share grow as a result of the recession, is planning a move into the Republic's convenience sector.

In a submission to Dublin City Council, which is considering a new development plan, Lidl has asked to be allowed to open what it terms neighbourhood shops.

"The provision of a wider convenience retail sector with increased competition and extra choice that can also cater for specific tastes is especially important in furthering the amenities of existing communities," its submission says.

It is understood that the Dublin c-store format, if approved, would be similar to the Lidl Express at Edmonton Green, London. That outlet, half the size of a traditional Lidl, has a bakery and offers sandwiches, takeaway coffee, soft drinks and meal deals.

The proposed Lidl move would see it compete with Spar, the Musgrave-owned Centra chain, Mace and Londis at a time when Irish convenience is in decline.

Lidl currently operates 150 stores across the Republic. Along with Aldi it now has a combined market share of 8%, according to TNS, both having strengthened their position since last year.