Is discount chain Lidl set for more openings across Suffolk?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Is budget supermarket giant Lidl planning a raft of new stores across Suffolk after announcing plans for a big expansion over the next four years?
The German-owned company already has 860 stores across the UK, and announced it plans to take this number up to 1,100 by the end of 2025 when it announced its annual results yesterday. That will create 4,000 new jobs.
At present it has seven stores in Suffolk, but this number is expected to increase with the opening of two new sites in Ipswich over the next two years.
There are two stores in Felixstowe, two in Ipswich, and one each in Lowestoft, Stowmarket and Haverhill. There are also Lidl stores in Thetford, Harwich and Colchester.
There is already planning permission for a new large Lidl store to be built at the Nacton Road entrance to Futura Park. Planning permission was confirmed for this store by Ipswich council in August.
The company has not confirmed when work will start - but it is understood bulldozers will be on the site in early 2022 and it is expected to be open by Christmas next year.
That will, however, see the closure of the smaller Ravenswood Lidl which is almost opposite it on Nacton Road - so the number of stores in the town will remain the same.
However a planning application is also expected within the next few weeks for another Lidl at the Anglia Retail Park on the opposite side of the town. That is expected to take some time to determine because of planning issues but could be completed by Christmas 2023.
After the national announcement was made on Wednesday there was no one available from the company available to comment on particular locations, but it is understood to be interested in sites in Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Newmarket.
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Lidl is often seen as a direct rival to Aldi, which is also a German-owned company, and both discount supermarket groups have been expanding in recent years.
It reported profits of £9.8m as sales grew 12% to £7.7bn.
Lidl GB chief executive Christian Hartnagel said: “We delivered an impressive trading performance in the period which was supported by our continued investment in new and existing stores, product innovation and our people.
“All of this contributed to growth in our revenue and profits and positions us well for further growth in the years to come.”