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The discounter plans to expand its store network and build a new €80m distribution centre.

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Lidl UK has announced plans to build a major new distribution centre to supply its London stores.

Expansion in the capital

To support its growth in London, Lidl is to build a new distribution centre in Luton, Bedfordshire. The facility will serve the discounter’s London stores, including five new locations inside the M25: Hornchurch, Rosehill, Shepherd's Bush, South Ruislip and Walthamstow.

1 million sq ft facility

Lidl has exchanged contacts for a 58-acre site in Luton, on which it plans to build a 1 million square foot warehouse. The facility will be the discounter’s largest in the UK, and its forth DC for Greater London, creating 1000 new jobs.

It marks a significant step in Lid’s UK expansion– it opened two regional DCs in Exeter and Wednesbury in 2017, and is planning a further three in Doncaster, Bolton and Peterborough.

Ambitious expansion plans

Commenting on the announcement, Ingo Fischer, Lidl’s board director for expansion and development in the UK, said: “As more London households choose to shop at Lidl we are committed to the continued investment in our operations and infrastructure to support our growth.

“With five new stores opening in the next two months alone, and further store expansion and development plans in place for the Greater London area across the new financial year and beyond, this new warehouse is vital in supporting our ambitious expansion plans in and around the M25.”

Lidl UK has opened a new distribution centre in Exeter, ahead of the busy festive season.

Distributing 1.5 million mince pies

The new facility has opened just in time for Lidl’s busiest time of year. In the week leading up to Christmas day, it will distribute 1.5 million mince pies, 40,000 turkeys and 100,000 packs of Brussels sprouts.

£55m project

The distribution centre, which is located at Exeter Gateway business park, is Lidl’s 12th in the UK and will serve over 50 stores in the South West.

Strong growth

Mark Henry, regional director at Lidl, commented: “The South West is an important region for Lidl and it’s an area where we’ve experienced particularly strong growth. We remain committed to creating high-quality jobs for the communities we serve and this new centre gives us another great opportunity to do just that.”

Lidl has withdrawn food from its online offer in Germany.

Focusing on strengths

Lidl had previously offered a limited food range through its online platform in Germany. However, it will now only be possible to buy non-food, including textiles, industrial goods and alcohol online. Its reasons for this scale back are predominantly financial and it will look to re-enter the online food business in the future if it can make it economically viable.

Change in strategic direction

Recent changes in management may also have influenced the latest decision. Thorsten Reichle took over from Heiko Hegwein as the head of e-commerce and has been in charge of the recent launch of the online non-food platform in the Czech Republic. The companies strategy looks to have become more conservative, however it is still looking to play an important role in the evolution of e-commerce in Europe, focusing on its non-food platforms. With a second distribution centre announced this year for the Netherlands, following its launch there in 2016, Lidl is looking to focus on developing its online sales in the non-food area for the time being.

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