German supermarket Lidl to invest 1.5 bln stg to expand in Britain

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Lidl UK, the British arm of the German discount supermarket, plans to invest more than 1.5 billion pounds ($2.28 billion) to expand over the next three years, it said on Thursday.

Lidl, which first came to Britain in 1994, currently trades from about 620 stores and has a long-term target of 1,500, including 281 in London.

Along with its German discounter rival Aldi, Lidl has been taking market share from Britain’s traditional big four grocers - leader Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

The latest industry data put Lidl’s share at 4.3 percent.

“We’re always humbled by the sheer volume of people that contact us asking for a Lidl to open in their town or city,” said UK director of property and expansion Ingo Fischer.

News of Lidl’s investment plans came as it opened the first of its new concept stores, in Northamptonshire, central England, that will form the blueprint for further openings.

The store has wider aisles than traditional Lidl outlets, along with longer tills, restroom, baby changing facilities and more natural light.

$1 = 0.6587 pounds Reporting by James Davey; editing by Jason Neely