Aldi is to open a string of small stores in “prominent” London locations as it looks to grab a slice of the increasingly competitive market.
The German discounter, which has 15,000 sq ft stores as standard, has published requirements for property agents to scout 6,000-8,000 sq ft stores in central London, the first of two new formats it is set to launch.
Aldi requires the stores to be in high footfall locations close to transport links, with or without a car park and it is understood that the first store to open will be in Kilburn on the site of a former Peacocks store.
The second format will be for 10,000 sq ft stores within London with 30 to 40 parking spaces.
Aldi is attempting to take a slice of the lucrative London market as the battle for convenience stores in the capital intensifies.
Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have stated their ambitions to expand their convenience formats in London, Tesco has rapidly expanded its Tesco Express format in the last 18 months and Morrisons has built a dedicated warehouse in Feltham to support the entrance of its M Local stores into London.
The new formats will complement Aldi’s wider nationwide roll-out programme of its main stores in town centres and retail parks as it enjoys rapid organic growth. Nielsen figures released last week revealed Aldi sales rocketed 38.9% in the 12 weeks to November 10 and it now holds a 2.6% share of the market.
Kantar Retail insights director Bryan Roberts said: “Historically Aldi has been inflexible about locations; it has always had a fixed template of store size and locations and would also look for new builds where Lidl has preferred to move into pre-existing retailer stores.
“Going smaller is a logical step for Aldi. Non-food is no large loss [if it’s removed from small stores], it generates footfall but these will be in the high street where people are not looking for chain saws and slippers.”
Roberts said there are enough locations within the M25 to satisfy demand from the grocers as well as discounters aiming to increase their presence in London including B&M Bargains, Home Bargains and Poundworld.