Aldi Kilburn

Discounters Aldi and Lidl are ramping up their UK distribution networks to cope with huge store expansion, new figures have revealed.

A report for The Grocer by planning experts Barbour ABI shows the two discounters have more than 80,000 sq ft of distribution floor space in the planning pipeline for 2015 onwards, which would see their capacity more than double compared with last year.

Aldi leads the way with a 60,000 sq ft expansion in the form of a proposed £60m regional DC on the outskirts of Cardiff, due to open in early 2017.

The facility, which will create an estimated 400 new jobs, comes as The Grocer revealed last month that the discounter has no fewer than 33 planning applications in the pipeline for stores, far more than any other retailer.

The Barbour ABI figures show Aldi’s distribution space will have increased almost six-fold since 2013, once the Cardiff DC goes ahead.

Meanwhile, Lidl has plans for a new North East DC at its warehouse in County Durham, which would add more than 20,000 sq ft of distribution space.

The centre will handle Lidl’s expansion across Cumbria, Yorkshire and Humberside.

Of the big four, only Morrisons has any plans to expand its distribution centres, and that by just 300 sq ft, according to Barbour. Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have not yet submitted any plans for 2015.

In 2013, Sainsbury’s opened more than 90,000 sq ft of distribution space, with Asda opening 56,000, the Barbour ­figures show.

“Aldi is certainly the most active with the largest planning applications in the time period,” said Michael Dall, lead economist, construction, at Barbour ABI.

“Lidl’s plans for a regional DC in the North East perhaps signifies a bigger focus in that part of the country.”