A SUPERMARKET chain is looking to open several new stores across south Hampshire, creating hundreds of jobs.
Aldi described Hampshire as an important growth area for its masterplan and is now actively looking for sites in Southampton, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Totton, Winchester and Gosport, with further towns expected to be announced soon.
The new openings are part of the German budget chain’s plan to open 1,000 new stores in the UK in the next few years and comes as it overtakes the Co-operative as the UK’s fifth biggest supermarket chain, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel.
Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi, said: “If you look at the population, we think not only could we have a store in every town and city, but for every 25,000 to 30,000 people.”
“We have 700 stores now and 300 sites already approved on our books.
“And there are 600 town locations where we don’t have a store; in many of which we could easily have two, three or four stores.”
An Aldi spokesperson added: “We are considering new locations for stores across the UK. Once we have confirmed a location we will update the local community.”
The news follows plans which have been approved for a new store in Southampton Road, Portchester, creating 30-40 new jobs which is expected to open later this year.
The store will have a net sales area of 1,254 sqm, along with a 124-space car park.
A spokesperson for Aldi said: “We believe there is a real need for a new food store in the area, as currently no discount convenience retailer is represented in the north of Portsmouth.”
“We look forward to starting work on our new Portchester store in June, 2017. Once up and running in November 2017, it will create more than 25 new local jobs and help residents to shop and save closer to home.”
Mark Bulcher, chair of policy at the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news: “This reinforces the message that Hampshire is a great place to do business and that there continue to be investment opportunities here,” he said.
Aldi reported a fall in profits this year after the price war between the other rival big five started to eat into its own profitability, falling 1.8 per cent to £255m.
Aldi has stores in this area at Fareham, Romsey and Southampton (Portswood) but its presence in the county is not as strong as its rival Lidl.
Lidl is investing £1.5bn over 2015-18 for their national expansion, including the opening and upgrading of new and existing Lidl stores in and around the Hampshire area.
It has recently opened new stores in Ringwood and Woolston and has one planned for Whiteley.
Source : DailyEcho