Aldi has opened a new £50m distribution centre to help it expand its store network in the Southeast.

The 60,000 sq m centre on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent will serve nearly 60 stores across the Southeast, creating 400 new jobs.

The German retailer is the fastest-growing supermarket, according to research firm Kantar, and has plans to open 130 new stores by 2020, including stores in London, Brighton and Deal. 

The discount chain currently operates 827 stores but has increased its long-term opening target to 1,200 by 2025.

Aldi saw its best Christmas trading period last year, generating sales of nearly £1bn in December. The week of December 17 was Aldi’s busiest as sales surged 10% year on year.

Isle of Sheppey regional distribution centre managing director Ben Shotter said: “The new Sheppey distribution centre significantly increases our capacity and allows us to open more stores across the Southeast to cater for the growing number of shoppers switching to Aldi.

“Although some of our newest and most popular stores are situated in the Southeast, there are still many towns and cities where we have a limited presence or none at all. This is something that we are looking to address in the coming years.”