Aldi has unveiled plans to build a £75m distribution centre in Bedford to support its aggressive expansion in the Southeast of England.

The discounter said the 947,000 sq ft facility will employ more than 400 people and service its growing portfolio of stores in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Aldi has submitted a planning application for the site in Wixams, which would be its 12th warehouse in the UK, following discussions with Bedford Borough Council and developer Gallagher Estates.

It comes as Aldi ramps up its investment in the UK.

In 2016, the grocer ploughed £450m into new stores and distribution centres in the UK and Ireland, taking its investment over the last five years to £2bn.

However, such investment dented Aldi’s bottom line during the calendar year, as operating profit slipped 17% to £211.3m – the third year in a row that its profitability has shrunk.

But the discounter grew sales 13.5% to £8.74bn in the period ended December 31, 2016.

Aldi UK and Ireland boss Matthew Barnes said: “More than half of all UK households now regularly shop with us and many more prospective customers tell us they would switch supermarkets if there was an Aldi nearby.

“This gives us the confidence to continue investing in our operations and infrastructure.”

Barnes added: “Our plans are more significant when viewed against the changes taking place in the UK grocery market.

“At a time when many of our competitors are scaling back, we continue to scale up our operations across the country.”