Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Discount Supermarket Targets Middle Classes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Discount Supermarket Targets Middle Classes

Article excerpt


DISCOUNT supermarket Aldi is planning a huge push into middleclass London to break the stranglehold of Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

The German-owned "no frills" grocer which has emerged as one of the biggest winners of the credit crunch wants to open 200 stores in the capital, including the most upmarket enclaves.

Aldi's director for London and the South-East, Graham Hetherington, today said there were no "no-go" areas in the capital.

"We reckon London is a gold mine for us. London is undersupplied with supermarkets compared with the rest of the country because of the difficulty of getting sites. But it is very straightforward for us to open our normal format, which are about a quarter of the size of a medium-sized Tesco."

Aldi currently has only 20 stores in London, in areas including Tottenham and Dagenham. It plans to open three to five new stores a year over the next few years and then accelerate expansion.

It has already opened in leafier neighbourhoods such as Upminster and Bexley Heath, but now says even wealthier areas are ready to embrace Aldi.

Mr Hetherington added: "We are looking at opportunities right in the heart of London. We may not go right into the middle of the city straight away, but I've been looking at sites in the London Bridge area." Aldi now claims that half its shoppers are from the wealthier ABC1 social groups and its biggest selling frozen line is the gastropub staple, lamb shank.

Mr Hetherington said: "We've had shoppers from Waitrose and even Marks & Spencer come to us.

"Our North Finchley store was an M& S Simply Food. We've done extremely well there on a site they were unable to make work. We also plan to extend all our stores in London so we can present them in a way to attract Tesco and Sainsbury's shoppers even more." Aldi's sales have rocketed since the start of the credit crunch and are growing at around 30 per cent a year. …

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