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Lidl buys 22 acre Midlands plot for design-and-build shed

Thriving discounter Lidl is poised to buy a 22-acre plot in the Black Country, for a 475,000 sq ft distribution centre to support its ambitious nationwide store expansion programme.

It has put the Opus Blueprint site in Wednesbury under offer — seven months after Property Week revealed it intended to triple its distribution presence in the Midlands.

In keeping with its freehold property strategy, the retailer will pay around £12m for the site and develop a design-and-build unit on the land, which is located close to junction nine of the M6 motorway.

The site, which is owned by joint venture partners Opus Land, backed by Palmer Capital, and St Francis Group, will serve as a regional distribution hub for the wider Midlands area and support Lidl’s expansion programme to increase its UK store estate to 1,500 within the next decade.

The retailer already has a 250,000 sq ft distribution centre at Gazeley’s Magna Park that it could retain, which would bring its total presence in the region to more than 700,000 sq ft.

It is looking to open 30 stores a year and is actively seeking to upgrade its distribution network to service this expansion.

It currently has eight distribution centres across the UK and recently opened a 215,000 sq ft shed in Northfleet, Kent, to fulfil increased demand across London and the South East.

It has also secured planning permission for a 450,000 sq ft distribution centre in Southampton.

Property Week revealed last week that Lidl was close to agreeing a deal to buy a 175,000 sq ft office in Walton-on-Thames to house its UK headquarters.

Along with fellow German budget chain Aldi, Lidl has shaken up the UK grocery market and in recent months has taken huge chunks out of the market share of the big four supermarkets — Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Author: Richard Williams, Property Week