Discounters do battle as Aldi eyes 50th store

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THE war between the discount supermarket chains will intensify next year when Aldi opens a further six stores, taking its total north of the Border to 50.

Fast-growing Inverness looks likely to be a key battleground, with Aldi planning to open its second branch in the Highland capital late next year. The city is also home to arch-rival Lidl.

Other towns being targeted by Aldi are East Kilbride, Falkirk, Leven, Motherwell and Paisley.

In total, the German chain is expected to create 75 jobs at the latest six stores, taking its headcount in Scotland to more than 800 and its total for Great Britain as a whole to nearly 11,900.

Aldi buying director Michael Whiteford told Scotland on Sunday that 25 per cent of the chain’s core range is now sourced from Scottish suppliers and that he hopes to stock a wider range of home-grown products once the chain has expanded.

Figures released last month by analysis firm Kantar Worldpanel showed that Aldi grabbed a 3 per cent slice of the UK grocery market in the 12 weeks to 28 October – a record share for the company following a 29 per cent rise in sales.

Lidl meanwhile grew its sales by 10.9 per cent over the same period, giving it a 2.7 per cent share of Britain’s grocery market.

The discounters have enjoyed a surge in popularity since the financial crisis as grocery shoppers trade down from the “big five” supermarket chains.

Aldi was founded in Germany in 1913 and opened its first branch in the UK in 1989. The chain’s first outlet in Scotland was opened at Kilmarnock in 1994.

News of the latest wave of store openings comes just weeks after Aldi launched its first Scottish beer festival, boosting sales for small craft brewers including the Colonsay Brewery.