Grocer to focus on premium products at £2m Manchester store
German discount supermarket Aldi is ditching its bargain-basement image to target more affluent customers with its first city centre store.

The 10,500 sq ft (975 sq m) shop will open in Manchester at a site adjacent to the Arndale centre in December, and marks a major step in the grocer's repositioning.

Aldi is investing more than£2 million in the store, which is adjacent to Primark and Tesco Metro in Market Street. It also has a second entrance in the Arndale centre. The fascia will be Aldi's standard design, but inside the focus will be on its premium product range, Specially Selected, and its healthy offer, Be Light.

The retailer is also launching its first lunch range in a grab-and-go format, featuring a premium selection of locally sourced sandwiches, crisps and drinks .

Aldi regional managing director Matthew Barnes said: 'To cater for the high proportion of walk-in trade, the store will deviate from the standard trolley-only Aldi model, but our principle of applying a standard format to all our stores has not changed. We have invested a great deal of effort in both our product quality and in-store experience to get Aldi to the point where we have something to add to such a dynamic city centre.'

Aldi, which has a 2.5 per cent market share, has adapted its model to suit the local market, but will maintain its commitment to high-quality products and value for money.

The move follows Aldi's advertising campaign Spend a Little, Live a Lot, which launched last year and focused on its premium products, in an effort to widen its customer base. The£6 million campaign featured products including smoked salmon and Pinot Grigio wine.

PricewaterhouseCoopers chief retail adviser Michael Poynor said: 'Aldi's product quality is phenomenal, because it has huge buying power. It needs to communicate this and the city-centre location will tell shoppers to expect something different.'

Aldi's operating profits soared 210 per cent to£43.88 million for the UK and Ireland in the 12 months to December last year. Turnover climbed from£1.02 billion to£1.13 billion.