Discounter Lidl has said that it plans to lead the development of more than 3,000 homes around the Greater London area, in order to secure planning permission for a number of new stores in the UK capital, The Guardian has reported.
The retail group also plans to develop a primary school in the suburb of Richmond, located above a Lidl store, which will include an outdoor playground space, according to the paper.
The discounter said that it wants to open 50 stores a year around the UK, and is upping its focus on city locations. In pledging to develop apartments and schools, the discounter is hoping to persuade councils to pass the new retail developments.
"We’re proud that our stores are increasingly helping to pave the way for mixed-use developments, which in turn are supporting important initiatives," said Christian Härtnagel, the group's UK managing director.
It's not the first retailer to commit to developing housing, with Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons all previously committing to developing apartments in order to secure planning permission, The Guardian reported.
“Lidl and Aldi both need to aggressively push into the south-east, especially London, and the only way they can afford to pay a premium for development sites is to also do residential,” Tom Edson of property consultancy Colliers told the paper.
“Having people above the shop is not a bad thing. It means you have got a ready customer base."
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.