Tesco has reportedly earmarked two potential sites to trial its new discount store concept, entrusting former Aldi operations director Lawrence Harvey to spearhead the project.
According to The Times, two stores in Immingham in Lincolnshire and Chatteris in Cambridgeshire have been tagged for pilot stores as the grocer launches a separate brand aimed at taking on Aldi and Lidl.
Tesco built these stores with a view to adding them to its estate but had to back out in 2014 and 2015 amid its financial crisis, along with 47 other stores.
The stores remain under Tesco’s ownership and have been maintained but have never been occupied by the grocer.
They would provide a cheap point of entry into the discount market without Tesco needing to cannibalise its own estate.
Poundstretcher has moved into the site in Chatteris, but around 5000sq ft of space remains free for the launch on the new concept.
In Immingham, the “mothballing” of the store in 2015 met with fierce local pushback, with the local mayor stating: “To leave… a very nice building just boarded up is a disgrace.”
The executive understood to be leading this new project is Tesco’s retail director Harvey, who had previously worked for its discount rival Aldi for eight years.
He is understood to have dozens of people working for him to establish a workable plan for the new concept.
The Retail Gazette has contacted Tesco for further details.