Tesco could launch a new discount chain as early as September as Britain’s biggest grocer prepares to go toe-to-toe with Aldi and Lidl.

The supermarket giant has started advertising for workers to staff new-format stores in Wandsworth, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire – the latter two of which are mothballed sites Tesco has sat on for years.

A Tesco Metro in St Helens, Merseyside is also set to re-open under a new name, while staff at a Tesco Metro in Liverpool’s Edge Hill have been promised jobs at a new store set to open in just five weeks, according to The Guardian.

Online job ads for some of the stores read: “The new retail format will be operated separately from the core Tesco business and as such benefits offered will be different from those offered at Tesco.”

Staff at the Tesco Metro stores are therefore being made redundant and asked to reapply for the new roles.

The fresh details have emerged months after rumours first began to circulate that Tesco was mulling a shock move to launch a discount fascia.

The Sunday Times reported in February that Tesco had drafted in advisers from Boston Consulting Group to draw up plans for the new stores, which would offer around 3,000 SKUs.

It would mark a stark contrast to the 25,000-plus lines available in Tesco’s biggest supermarkets.

New banner

The grocer could name the new offshoot business Jack’s – after its founder Jack Cohen – after a division of the business attempted to register the name as a retail trademark.

The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend that as many as 60 stores could be launched under the new banner initially.

Tesco last attempted to crack the grocery discount market in the 1980s through the Victor Value brand, but the venture was abandoned after just four years.

Management at the time felt the move could damage the main Tesco brand.

Sainsbury’s attempted a similar strategy in 2014 after partnering with Netto to relaunch the business in the UK.

But Sainsbury’s called time on the joint venture two years in, claiming it could not grow the business to the scale that would be required in order to make it profitable.