Aldi store image

Source: Aldi

Aldi is planning to open 35 new UK stores this year

Retail development activity hit a record low last year, according to analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics.

Construction orders – a reflection of development activity – totalled £1.3bn in the fourth quarter of 2023 on a rolling annual basis, the lowest level since the data series began in 1985.

It contrasts with an average £3.2bn and a high of £6.8bn in 2006.

The analysis, from commercial real estate information company CoStar, is supported by its own data on new construction starts, which were also at their lowest level on record in 2023, at 3.15 million sq ft. It followed a gradual slowdown over the past 10 years from 14.4 million in 2014.

However, within the slowdown there were some “modest outperforming segments that continue to see activity across the country”, according to CoStar, including “several” supermarkets being built by Aldi, Lidl and Tesco, according to CoStar.

Aldi recently announced plans to open 35 new stores this year in a £550m investment.

Meanwhile, Lidl is getting a pipeline of new stores back on track after pausing new construction projects last year. It recently appointed contractors to build what a source called “numerous” stores.

Retail parks, high-end retail schemes and mixed-use projects, where retail forms part of residential schemes, are also areas of activity, according to CoStar.