DISCOUNT retail giant Aldi has blamed planning difficulties affecting its nationwide expansion plans for its decision to postpone the opening of a massive regional distribution centre in the south by two years.
The €100 million centre, which is being built in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, was granted planning permission in 2008, and has the potential to create 140 jobs.
However, Aldi has confirmed it will not open the centre until 2013.
It said the delay is a direct result of “difficulties” in the planning process as it embarks on its €350m 32-store expansion plan, which could create up to 650 jobs.
A company spokesperson refused to discuss the nature of the planning difficulties.
But it has resulted in fewer Aldi stores being opened in 2010 than originally planned, she said.
The German discount retailer opened 13 stores last year but has only managed to open three new ones so far this year.
“The lack of planning permissions for new stores is the only factor contributing to the delay in opening the new regional distribution centre. Aldi is continuing to seek planning permissions across the country to support its expansion programme,” the spokesperson said.
It is understood that construction of the distribution centre will continue until the end of the year, but that the internal fit-out will be delayed until the 2013 opening.
The massive development is being built on a 32-acre site alongside the town’s western relief road. Once fully operational, it will service Aldi stores in counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.
Meanwhile, Aldi has lodged a planning application with Cork City Council for a new store, which includes an off-licence, in Blackpool. The application is for a retail warehouse unit in the Blackpool Retail Park. A decision is due by November.
The park adjoins the Blackpool Shopping Centre, owned by the Love family’s Shipton group, where Dunnes Stores is the anchor retail outlet.
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