Aldi is looking to snag a larger share of the UK grocery market with plans to operate 1,200 locations by the end of 2025. The German discount retailer had earlier announced plans to open 1,000 shops by 2022, according to Reuters. Currently Aldi holds a 7.6% share of the market with 775 stores.
The chain opened 70 stores in 2017 and is on track to open an additional 70 this year. Aldi plans to open 130 locations between 2019 and 2020, followed by 50 to 60 stores annually until it reaches 1,200. The retailer’s focus will be on towns where it does not yet have a presence, and the expansion may include stores divested as part of Sainsbury’s proposed takeover of Asda.
“As a business we tend to be pretty conservative with our targets,” said Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi UK in a meeting with reporters. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we actually achieved more than we said by 2025.”
Aldi invested $1.3 billion in 2017 and 2018, in both store openings and the expansion of its Project Fresh concept — an updated layout with more refrigeration and an emphasis on fresh produce. The company also is opening new distribution centers and making improvements to existing facilities.
Competition in the UK grocery market has been fierce, particularly with price-cutting. Aldi rival Tesco signaled its intention to compete in the discount market with the launch of Jack’s, a price-focused chain. Tesco also has formed a strategic alliance with Carrefour that combines their buying power for private label products.