Lidl UK has officially started operations from its new Regional Distribution Centre in Exeter. This £55 million investment has created approximately 500 jobs and will service 40 stores across the region during the busy Christmas period, rising to 51 from February 2018. The new, 50,000sq m hub in the Exeter Gateway business park comes as part of Lidl’s wider investment and modernisation programme across the South West.
The Regional Distribution Centre will serve stores from Penzance to as far as Burnham-on-Sea and across to Weymouth, with 1,700 pallets of products projected to go through its premises every day. The warehouse, which is now gearing up for the busy Christmas period, is predicted to distribute a staggering 40k turkeys, 1.5m boxes of mince pies, 100k bottles of prosecco, 150k packs of carrots, 100k packs bags of parsnips and 100k packs of Brussels sprouts in the week leading up to Christmas day.
Lidl continues to invest in the South West region, with half of its existing estate being refurbished in the next year. The retailer has also confirmed contracts with 14 suppliers, including Wyke Farms, County Confectionary, Kanes Foods and Crediton Dairy in the area, which will be worth over £100million across the next five years. The company offers its partners extensive export opportunities to Lidl markets across the globe.
Mark Henry, regional director at Lidl, said: “Christmas is the busiest and most exciting time of year at Lidl. This new Regional Distribution Centre will play an essential role in helping us meet growing customer demand for our award-winning products.
“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 ambitious expansion plans across the UK, with an investment aim of £1.45bn by 2019. Regional Distribution Centres will make up a significant part of this objective, with this latest RDC opening becoming the 12th in the Lidl portfolio. This is the third Regional Distribution Centre opened by the Supermarket in the past 12 months, helping to provide customers with great value and high-quality products at Lidl prices, whilst creating approximately 1,500 new jobs in total.
The opening follows an announcement from the supermarket earlier this week, that it is now the highest-paying supermarket in the UK, after giving all 16,000 of its hourly-paid employees a raise. This includes increasing entry level wages to the new voluntary living wage rate, as announced by the Living Wage Foundation, to ensure that salaries support the real cost of living. In 2015 the supermarket became the first British supermarket to make this commitment.
Since Lidl first opened its doors in the UK in 1994 it has been responding to growing customer demand, with 680 stores nationwide to date. The supermarket continues to be the fastest growing in the UK, with the most recent Kantar supermarket share data highlighting Lidl’s success in the country, with sales up 16% year on year.