Store chain bowled over by response
A NEW supermarket swung open its doors in Lowestoft yesterday, signalling the first step in a series of key shopping investments in the town.After clothes shop chain Peacocks confirmed that it would begin trading in town in the summer, people queued outside Aldi from 7am for a first glimpse inside the company's third-largest UK store.
A NEW supermarket swung open its doors in Lowestoft yesterday, signalling the first step in a series of key shopping investments in the town.
After clothes shop chain Peacocks confirmed that it would begin trading in town in the summer, people queued outside Aldi from 7am for a first glimpse inside the company's third-largest UK store.
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard officially opened the Millennium Way super-market and declared the international chain's arrival as a huge asset to Lowestoft.
Graham Hetherington, Aldi's managing director for the east of England, said it was the best reaction to a new store he had seen for years.
He added: 'We are very happy to invest several millions in Lowestoft. The timing is great, and it's an exciting time for us and Lowestoft.
'It's fair to say it was the biggest queue I have seen for a very long time for an Aldi store opening; it has exceeded all our expectations.
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'I think nationally Aldi has captured people's imagination in terms of the quality and value for money. The bottom line is we've had a massive sales growth in the last few years and people are saving between 30pc and 50pc on their groceries by shopping here.
'Our first store in Lowestoft was not big enough and located well enough and we wanted to address these issues and invest in Lowestoft to give a bigger, better and smarter store.'
Aldi's previous outlet in Commercial Road closed on Sunday to make way for the new state-of-the-art glass panelled building.
Boasting 70 parking spaces and double the floor space, all the existing staff transferred to the new site, with around 10 new jobs created.
Among the throngs of customers who turned out for the opening, the first 100 were given a golden ticket entitling them to a free gift, including a 32in television.
Mr Blizzard said the positivity and support of people showed there was light at the end of the tunnel.
'At a time when clearly we have things closing down it's really great to be here for something opening; a new store and a new business.
'This site was earmarked for a food store many years ago and it's really nice to have one on this side of the town. 'Most importantly Aldi are bringing very cheap prices, it's a real asset to Lowestoft - this is what Lowestoft needs.'
Peacocks officially announced this week they will open a new shop in Lowestoft at the end of June and are currently advertising for 16 members of staff, including a store manager.
They will occupy around a third of the empty Somerfield store in London Road North.
Asda have previously stated their intention to attract retailers to their empty buildings on the Belvedere Road site.
Emma Jones, Lowestoft town centre manager said she believed the economy in Lowestoft was on the move again.
'It's a new year and a new positive outlook, not just from the shopping point of view, but also to see people over Lowestoft coming out with such enthusiasm to support a new store opening. It shows people want to support retail.
'Peacocks will bring new opportunities into the town centre, which is really good news. The sun is shining on Lowestoft today.'
This positive news comes in the midst of Woolworths' sad decline, while television company Sanyo is earmarked for closure unless a last minute rescue bid is successful.
Aldi will be open Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 7pm, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 8pm, Saturday, 8.30am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.