Lidl store Hersham

Source: Lidl

Lidl has about 950 stores

Lidl’s slowdown of store openings is set to last until 2026, according to a construction graduate affected by recent property job cuts at the discounter.

The slowdown has also extended to recruitment, with Lidl taking on few new starters other than in areas essential to continued operation such as in stores and logistics.

Lidl, which previously opened about 50 stores a year, in February cut its official projection for 2023 to 25. The discounter has stuck to the figure, though a range of sources have said the number of stores it plans to open this year is closer to 10

The slowdown led to the redundancy of about 12 construction graduates who were taken on in September last year, only to learn of the construction slowdown in November and job cuts in January.

“They went from about 50 sites year to 12 for the financial year 2022-23,” said the source. “They said it was going to be seven in 2023-24 and that it wouldn’t resume until 2026.”

The source said Lidl had also “basically stopped recruitment” other than for stores and logistics roles.

Of 298 job opportunities listed on Lidl’s careers page on 16 March, 281 were either in stores or as warehouse operatives. Lidl was also advertising a warehouse recruitment open day at its Exeter RDC on 20 March.

Seven vacancies were listed based at Lidl’s head office in Surbiton, London. The number of head office-based roles had fluctuated during the week, having been four on 14 March, when The Grocer first approached Lidl for a comment on the numbers.

In contrast, Aldi is currently recruiting for about 100 job opportunities at its head office in Atherstone, Warwickshire, not including warehouse roles.

Read more: Lidl ‘conceded battle to be UK’s dominant discounter’

Lidl said it had opened more than eight stores so far this year but did not provide further comment.

Aldi recently claimed it would create more than 6,000 new jobs in 2023 as it continued with expansion. It has about 990 stores, with a claimed 40 in the pipeline for this year.

Lidl has about 950 stores. 

Along with the graduates, some longer-term employees were made redundant, including senior and junior construction consultants, though Lidl has not disclosed the total number of job cuts.

The graduate source said: “During induction in September, they said they said there was going to be a lot of work.

“Then in November they stopped construction and we found out [about job cuts] in January. They said it was budget cuts.

“So, it felt like we were hired to be fired.”

Lidl has said that during the store opening slowdown it will focus on “investing heavily in our warehouse capacity: opening Luton, completing extension works on our Bridgend and Belvedere sites, and looking for a new site for the south”.