Lidl ups pressure on Big Four with £50m investment

Lidl unveils plans to invest millions in Scotland.
Lidl unveils plans to invest millions in Scotland.
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Discount retailer Lidl has unveiled a £50 million investment in Scotland as it looks to continue to take market share off the big four supermarket chains.

The expansion of the German-owned chain and investment in upgrading existing sites is expected to support up to 300 jobs over the next 12 months.

The moves comes just weeks after fellow discounter Aldi also announced expansion plans in Scotland.

Lidl, which now has a market share of 5.6 per cent north of the Border, is currently constructing eight new stores under its “Lidl of the Future” design in Edinburgh, Broughton, Greenock, Hawick, Oban, Partick and Stirling.

The new glass-fronted design will include a number of environmentally friendly technologies and will not require a gas connection. Stores will also have a larger sales area than existing sites.

As part of the investment plans, ten of Lidl’s portfolio of 91 stores will also see investment for extensions, modernisation and refurbishment.

Ross Millar, Lidl’s managing director in Scotland, said: “This latest phase in our growth is testament to the continued success of Lidl in Scotland. Our planned investment over the next 12 months signifies our commitment to Scotland.

“We have also set up a dedicated buying team in Scotland and we are working towards sourcing over 25 per cent of our products from Scottish suppliers.”

Last week Mrs Tilly’s, the Falkirk-based fudge and tablet maker, landed a deal to produce own-brand products for Lidl. The six-figure sum has helped the family-run firm expand its production facilities at Larbert.

Mrs Tilly’s will supply the grocer with tablet, fudge and macaroon bars, to be sold in all 91 of its Scottish stores under the Caulder’s Confectionery name.

In February, Aldi announced plans to open eight more stores in Scotland this year, creating more than 300 jobs. The move will bring its total number of shops north of the Border to 72.

Aldi said that by the end of this year it will employ about 2,500 people in Scotland – an increase of 200 per cent since 2012.

A report earlier this month highlighted how discount retailers such as Lidl and Aldi are expanding at a far faster rate than their mainstream supermarket rivals.

Budget supermarkets opened 1,487 units across the UK during the past five years – a 52 per cent rise – compared to just 570 units opened by the major brands such as Tesco and Asda, according to a report published by The Local Data Company.

Meanwhile, Scottish towns have the most competition between retailers in the UK, with 88 per cent of the towns analysed in Scotland having above average competition levels – areas with a high number of supermarket and discount stores compared to the population.