Tesco is poised to launch its new discount chain next week as Britain’s biggest grocer goes head to head with Aldi and Lidl.

The supermarket giant has been the topic of intense speculation for months, as market rumours swirl about the rollout of a new cut-price format.

Analysts have speculated that the chain, likely to be called Jack’s in honour of founder Jack Cohen, could eventually boast up to 60 stores.

Back in July, Tesco started advertising for workers to staff a “new store format” in Chatteris – a site that was mothballed in 2015 but is still owned by the retailer.

This afternoon, Tesco added further fuel to the fire by inviting journalists to an event at the Cambridgeshire site on Wednesday September 19.

It said it would be “sharing some exciting news” with the media on the day.

Tesco declined to comment on the nature of the event, but industry insiders suggested the grocer was “nailed on” to unveil its first discount store.

Tesco is understood to have drafted in former Aldi executive Lawrence Harvey and advisors from Boston Consulting Group to help draw up its plans.

It has also stopped stocking its own-label entry-level ranges – including the seven ‘Farm’ fruit and vegetable brands, Eastman’s Deli meats and TM Stockwell ambient goods – in its traditional Express c-stores.

Sources said the move would allow Tesco to merchandise the new discount chain with a range of cut-price lines – now referred to under the ‘Exclusively at Tesco’ banner – that are differentiated from its Tesco Express proposition.