Lidl’s former CEO has said that Aldi is set to continue as the UK’s leading discounter as Lidl has slowed its store openings this year.
Ronny Gottschlich, who was Lidl’s boss until 2016, told The Grocer that Lidl would need to open 50 stores a year more than Aldi for years to come, or it will “have to resign to the fact Aldi is going to be and is going to stay the UK’s strongest discounter.”
Ealier this month, Lidl said it is to scale back its openings and instead focus on growing warehouse capacity and despite opening 54 stores last year, it now aims to open just 25 in 2023.
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Meanwhile, Aldi is aiming to bring lower food prices by securing more supermarket locations, as part of a multi-million-pound expansion plan in London.
It has pledged to almost double its 60-strong estate within the M25 and create around 2,400 jobs.
Gottschlich also told The Grocer: “This should have been the time when they say, once and forever, we want to become the dominant player.”
“They should be opening 40 to 50 stores more a year, to catch Aldi, to change the perception that Aldi is the biggest discounter in the country.”
Aldi’s market share also grew at the fastest rate earlier this year as it saw strong sales of 26.9% in the four weeks to 22 January 2023, with its market share now standing at 9.2%, according to Kantar data.
While Lidl also saw sales jump, this was at a slightly slower rate of 24.1% to a market share of 7.1%.