Lancashire shoppers’ enthusiasm for discount supermarkets shows no sign of slowing down.
With a new Aldi set to be created in Leyland, it can now be revealed budget rival Lidl is also planning to open a new store in Fulwood – to add to the two it already has in Preston.
Both Aldi and Lidl have major expansion plans across the North West as their share of the grocery marketplace increases.
Lidl has just opened new stores in Chorley and Lancaster in the last fortnight – and is now understood to be bringing a further new store to the Eastway Hub at Fulwood – less than a mile from a new Aldi also being built on Eastway at the junction with Oliver’s Place.
The Eastway Hub is a new retail site sandwiched between Eastway and the M55, to the west of the A6.
Lidl’s regional head of property, Stuart Jardine, said recently: “It is great for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area, and we can’t wait to start serving our multi-award winning products to the local community.”
While welcoming the new jobs created by the chains, Lancashire business leaders and traders are urging shoppers not to forget their smaller corner stores.
The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and the Lancashire-based Federation of Small Businesses have raised concerns about the effect on small shops.
Alan Welsh, policy manager at the Chamber, said: “If there is one genuine concern about the growth of supermarkets it is the potential damage to small, local shops who cannot compete on price.”
Aldi, now the UK’s fifth largest and fastest growing supermarket, will open six new stores in the North West this year, creating more than 180 new roles.
The supermarket is also refurbishing 12 stores across the region - and planning consent was given last week for them to create a new branch in Golden Hill Lane, Leyland, to replace an existing store at Westgate.
It was approved despite a 390-strong petition of people opposing the development, at the junction with School Lane, on traffic grounds.
Aldi says 40 people will be employed at the new store.
Ruth Doyle, regional managing director at Aldi UK, said: “We’ve set out ambitious plans for this year and we’re investing heavily across the North West to ensure even more people in the region can shop and save closer to home.”
*For a special report on the rise of discount supermarkets, see Monday's Post.