German discount grocer Lidl has announced plans to open “at least one shop a week” in the UK amid a £1.45 billion expansion scheme.
Speaking to The Telegraph, the retailer’s UK chief executive Christian Härtnagel he plans to open a further 60 stores per year in the UK, hoping to fill the gaps where shoppers didn’t have close access to a Lidl store.
Doubling its 30 store openings from last year, Lidl has reportedly already agreed on locations for between 50 and 60 stores to open over the next two years.
Härtnagel also laid out plans to invest heavily in Lidl’s distribution network said said Lidl would not be revealing an online offering anytime soon in the UK.
While the investment will reportedly hit full year profits, Härtnagel stated his key concern was the status of his employees after Brexit.
“A quarter of our employees have an unclear status at the moment due to Brexit and I hope the significance of this means that the movement of people will have the highest agenda it can have in negotiations,” he said.
“We need clarity for our colleagues here but also for our UK employees who are working for Lidl in different countries. I just want to have clarity, because then I can prepare.”
The retailer’s ambitious expansion plans recently saw it take on the US, after it announced in May that it planned to open 100 stores across the pond.
“The easiest thing we could have done is buy a competitor in the US,” Hätnagel said.
Because there’s a lot of them and many are struggling. But that’s not how we do things, if we build a business our way, we can make it efficient rather than lose on legacy problems.”