Discounter Aldi is to open its first eco-store at Ludlow in Shropshire this year.

Aldi has submitted a planning application to build a shop with an eco-friendly roof covered with alpine plants. The store’s roof will be adapted to prevent water running off and will retain heat.

Aldi property director Richard Labbett said: “It will be the first roof of its kind we have done. We are very excited at the prospect of promoting this kind of eco-friendly approach at our newest store.”

The 17,975 sq ft Ludlow store is scheduled to open before Christmas. It follows the green stores launched by competitors Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s and is a further sign of Aldi moving onto its rivals’ turf.

Tesco has responded to the threat of Aldi by testing a discount-model store next to its headquarters at Cheshunt in Hertfordshire.

Aldi’s arrival in Ludlow, famously the UK’s foodie capital, is the latest sign of the discounters’ move into more upscale areas.

Aldi has a growing legion of customers in the UK and Republic of Ireland, particularly among middle class shoppers.

Its market share soared 13.2 per cent to 2.6 per cent for the 12 weeks to February 24, according to TNS Worldpanel.

In January, Aldi launched a TV campaign for its promotions on six fruit and vegetables, which it sells for 49p each, such as 500 grams of red seedless grapes.