The possibility of Aldi entering the upper echelons of the Big 4 could soon be a reality as the discount grocer reveals ambitious UK expansion plans to quadruple in size.
According to The Grocer, the German retailer is currently the UK’s fifth-biggest grocer according to market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel – and its expansion plan could see it open up to eight stores in some British towns and challenge the dominance of Tesco or Sainsbury’s.
“If you look at the population, we think not only could we have a store in every town and city, but for every 25,000 to 30,000 people,” Aldi UK chief executive Matthew Barnes told The Grocer.
Aldi currently has 700 stores in the UK, but when taking the UK’s population of around 65 million, Barnes’ vision means this could grow up to 2600 stores.
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Barnes also told The Grocer that by 2022, Aldi’s expansion target could supersede its original target of 1000 stores — he believes it could end up being 1300 stores.
“We have 700 stores now and 300 sites already approved on our books,” Barnes said.
“And there are 600 town locations where we don’t have a store; in many of which we could easily have two, three or four stores… We don’t have a store in Watford, [but] that would be a six to eight Aldi town.”
In comparison, Tesco’s current UK estate comprises of 2700 stores, from Express convenience stores to superstores.
Although Aldi first came to the UK in 1990, its rise — along with other German discount grocer Lidl — has only been meteoric since the recession and in 2015 it overtook Waitrose in terms of market share.
Earlier this year in February, it was bumped up yet again, overtaking the Co-op to become the UK’s fifth-biggest grocer.