German supermarket wars: Find out who is gaining territory in Suffolk and North Essex
- Credit: Archant
The two big German supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl, are jostling for position on the Eastern front as they seek domination of the budget retail sector. We reveal where the German rivals are opening new stores.
In Suffolk, Aldi might appear to have the competitive edge, as it has drawn up battle plans to open a raft of new stores in Europa Way and Martlesham Heath in the Ipswich area, on Gipping Way in Stowmarket, at Gateway Retail Park in Lowestoft and on Exning Road in Newmarket.
That’s on top of the six stores that it is already running - on Meredith Road, Felixstowe Road, and Scrivener Drive in Ipswich, on Dettingen Way in Bury Saint Edmunds, on Girling Street in Sudbury and Lordscroft Lane in Haverhill
But not to be undaunted, Lidl has some ambitious plans of its own for our area.
It already has two stores in Ipswich, and others in Stowmarket, Haverhill, Felixstowe and Lowestoft in Suffolk.
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And on top of that, plans have been approved for a new 1,325sqm Lidl store on Common Lane North in Beccles, with a view to opening this Autumn, 2019.
In Clacton, Lidl already has a store on St Osyth Road and is opening another, a 1325sqm store on land opposite Brook retail Park, next month.
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And in Colchester, where Lidl already has a store on Gosbecks Rd, it’s submitted plans to open another one on St Andrew’s Avenue which would be 1295sqm.
Aldi is also shutting its store on Leiden road in Stanway and opening up the road at Tollgate.
In Norfok, Lidl is also taking over new territory in Taverham and King’s Lynn.
German discount chains started disrupting the UK retail market in the 1990s, but their market share has only really picked up to significant levels in the past ten years.
Lidl and Aldi both enjoyed a bumper Christmas - Aldi rang up sales of almost £1 billion in the UK during December as the discount supermarket experienced its best ever Christmas trading period. Meanwhile, Lidl told a similar success story, as its sales grew 10% in December, its best festive sales performance ever, boosted by strong sales of vegetables typically eaten at Christmas, turkey and cheap lobster.
But the UK’s ‘big four’ of Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons were left trailing behind in terms of profit margins.
In September, Tesco unveiled its own discount chain to rival the German giants - Jack’s, which launched from Cambridgeshire.
in Ipswich, the supermarket chain has just closed a branch of Tesco Express, and Asda closed its store in Newmarket last month.
What does the future have in store?
Joshua Bamford, director for the Centre for Retail Research, based at Union House, Norwich, about the impact the discount retailers were having. He said: “What we are seeing now are retailers responding to our changing buying habits and playing the ‘Discount Game’.
“The future may bring consolidation, however, with fewer stores as prices are driven down so much, eventually the profit margin just isn’t enough. So it may not be such good news for consumers in the end.”