January 8, 2018 / 10:09 AM / 11 days ago

Lidl accelerates UK expansion with Luton warehouse plan

LONDON (Reuters) - Lidl UK, the British arm of the German discount supermarket, said on Monday it would create up to 1,000 jobs with a new distribution centre in Luton, south east England, as it steps up expansion in the country.

The firm, owned by Germany’s Schwarz Group, said the one million square feet warehouse would be its 16th and largest in Britain and would service its growing estate of London stores.

Lidl UK said it had exchanged contracts with the Houghton Regis Management Co, a consortium of Aviva Investors, LIH and the Diocese of St Albans, on a 58-acre site in Luton. The new regional distribution centre forms part of Lidl’s plan to invest 1.45 billion pounds ($1.96 billion) in Britain in 2017-18.

Lidl UK, which currently trades from 690 stores, said it will open five new London stores in the next two months and has plans for a further five warehouses.

Lidl UK is scheduled to update on Christmas trading on Wednesday.

Last week German rival Aldi UK [ALDIEI.UL] reported an over 15 percent rise in total sales for December and said it would press ahead with its aggressive expansion in 2018.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton

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