Aldi store

Source: Aldi

Opening larger stores is seen as one way the discounters might optimise market share growth in the cost of living crisis 

Aldi is looking for larger stores in a new nationwide appeal for members of the public to help locate sites.

The discounter is offering a finder’s fee to anyone who can recommend a site suitable for a 20,000 sq ft store – 2,000 ft larger than its usual minimum. It has published a wish list of desired locations in towns across the UK, from Aldershot to York.

It comes after Lidl increased its minimum nationwide new store size from 14,000 sq ft to 18,000 sq ft – as reported by The Grocer in December – and also offered a finder’s fee to members of the public in April this year.

Both discounters have challenging estate growth targets for 2025, with Aldi aiming for 1,200 stores and Lidl wanting 1,100, up from about 950 each this year.

Increasing the size of new stores is seen as another way they might take as many new customers – and as much market share – as possible from the big four in the cost of living crisis.

Talking to The Grocer recently, former Aldi UK & Ireland CEO Paul Foley noted that unlike when they stole a march on market share during the 2008 financial crisis, the discounters are now “busier per square metre than any other supermarket in the UK”.

Read more: Aldi and Lidl: the story behind the rise of a retail empire

It was a limiting factor in their ability to achieve the same rate of growth this time round because “to get much busier starts to get uncomfortable for the customer”, he said.

Lidl recently opened what is thought to be its biggest UK store to date, at 27,000 sq ft, in Wimbledon. 

Aldi has said a smaller size of 18,000 sq ft is still within its requirements, as set out in its latest acquisitions guide for property agents, published last year. However, its new nationwide appeal specifies: “Each site should be able to accommodate a 20,000 sq ft store, with around 100 parking spaces.”

A 20,000 sq ft footprint is the maximum specified in its latest acquisitions guide rather than the basic requirement.

The finder’s fee offered by both discounters is either 1.5% of the freehold purchase price or 10% of the first year’s rent on a leasehold site. It would mean a £22,500 fee for finding a location that leads to a £1.5m freehold purchase.

“Despite our growth in recent years, some people still don’t have access to a local store, which is why it is our mission to continue on with our ambitious growth plans and change that,” said Aldi UK national property director George Brown.

“Our finder’s fee is available to anyone who can find Aldi an appropriate property so we’d encourage people to share any suitable suggestions and get it touch.”