The Retail Grocery Dairy and Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) has temporarily put the brakes on German discounters Aldi and Lidl further expanding in Ireland.
The representative association for over 4,000 independent family-owned retailers has appealed two local authority planning permission decisions to An Bord Pleanála, which had given the go-ahead for a new Aldi store at Graiguenamanagh in Co Kilkenny and a new Lidl outlet at Drogheda, Co Louth.
In respect of the Drogheda plan, which involves Lidl demolishing its existing store and replacing it with a two- storey supermarket, Tara Buckley of RGDATA has told An Bord Pleanála that the development will not act as a complimentary hub, but will draw trade from a wider catchment area and have a significant impact on the viability and vitality of Drogheda town centre.
In the appeal, Ms Buckley said the Lidl proposal is not consistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
She also stated that a “town centre health check” is required to assess the retailing requirements of the town. She also argued that the proposed scale of the store at its location will have a further negative impact on the retail core of Drogheda town centre; will detract from its retail function; will result in increased vacancy rates, and damage the physical fabric of the town.
RGDATA putting the block on Lidl’s new Drogheda store follows the firm recently opening its 150th store. Now employing 4,200 here, Lidl is spending €100m a year on its Irish expansion plan.
Most recent retail grocery market share figures, from consumer insights agency Kantar Worldpanel, show Aldi and Lidl saw respective sales growth of 5.3% and 4.1% in the last quarter. Aldi currently has a 10.8% share of the Irish grocery market, while Lidl has 10.6% share. In the last 12-week period reviewed by Kantar, Aldi managed to attract an additional 20,000 customers.
RGDATA has also opposed two other planned German discount outlets in recent months — one for an Aldi in Ardee, Co Louth, which was refused by An Bord Pleanála, and one for Lidl at Greystones in Co Wicklow, which successfully secured planning permission.
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