Lidl GB has officially opened its £300m RDC, the largest Lidl warehouse in the world, marking the discounter's continued commitment to expansion across Great Britain.
The 1.2 million square foot RDC, which is half a kilometre long and could fit three of Lidl's existing warehouses inside, is located in Houghton Regis, Luton, and will deliver over 9,400 pallets a day across 150 stores. This compares to its existing distribution centres, which serve approximately 60-80 stores.
It will be the first Lidl GB warehouse to feature automation, helping to store more goods and increase capacity at the distribution centre, which in turn is helping to create more jobs. It's also been designed with sustainability at the forefront, featuring solar panels to generate 2,000,000 kWh of electricity annually. The warehouse will run purely on solar power at certain times throughout the year. Additionally, all of its delivery fleets are fuelled by biogas from food waste, supporting the discounter's ambition to have 100 percent of its fleet diesel-free by 2030.
This milestone comes as Lidl doubles down on its commitment to strengthen its infrastructure further as it caters for growing numbers of customers up and down the country. In 2022, Lidl opened over 50 new stores, more than any other supermarket in Great Britain, and opened a further 19 stores at the beginning of 2023.
The warehouse is set to create up to 1,500 jobs for the local community. Warehouse colleagues will benefit from working at the highest-paying supermarket after hourly wages increased this month to £11.40 from £11.00, with the potential to rise to £12.30 with a length of service. Benefits include life assurance, optional health and dental insurance schemes, enhanced holiday entitlement, and a 10 percent discount in stores.
The opening is marked with a ribbon cutting and parade featuring local performers from Luton, allowing Lidl colleagues to celebrate with local community stakeholders.
Richard Taylor, Chief Development Officer at Lidl GB, said the opening of this new RDC in Luton is a seminal moment for Lidl GB. Demand for Lidl has never been higher.
"We are seeing an increasing number of people walk through our doors to make savings on every shop. The fact that Lidl's largest RDC in the world is here in Great Britain speaks for itself not only in terms of our need to meet the growing customer demand but also in terms of our ambition to grow that demand in the future," said Taylor.
Taylor continued that the warehouse was a spectacular state-of-the-art site that the Lidl team has worked incredibly hard on to get to where it is now. It can service 150 stores, nearly triple the amount of some of our existing warehouses, demonstrating the scale of our ambition and growth potential.
Jennifer Davidson, Lidl's Regional Director responsible for the new distribution centre, said that in her 26 years at Lidl, she's had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects, but none of which she is prouder than this.
"To see the culmination of all the work that's gone into it and knowing the boost it will give to the local economy, including the 1,500 jobs created, is truly something. We have an exceptional team here, and I'm excited about what the future has in store for us and Lidl in general," stated Davidson.
Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, added that it was fantastic to see Lidl investing in the UK and creating thousands more well-paid jobs.
"As our plan to halve inflation this year and grow the economy bears fruit, businesses can be confident that investing in the UK is the right decision," said Hunt.
The multi-million-pound investment builds on the momentum already made this year. In April, Lidl announced it was recruiting for 400 roles as it submitted a planning application at a 38-acre site in Gildersome, Leeds. This followed the recent opening of four RDCs, including Motherwell, Peterborough, Doncaster and a second site in Belvedere.