Biggest Lidl warehouse in the world opens in Luton
Supermarket chain Lidl has opened its new regional distribution centre (RDC) in Houghton Regis, Luton. At 1.2 million ft², the facility is now the company’s largest warehouse in the world.
The project, costing £300 million, saw the construction of a facility which the retailer says “could fit three of Lidl’s existing warehouses inside”.
According to Lidl, the new site will be delivering over 9,400 pallets per day across 150 stores – as opposed to the 60-80 stores usually serviced by a typical distribution centre.
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, and 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 us needing to meet the growing demand from customers, but also in terms of our ambition to grow that demand in the future.
“It is a spectacular state-of-the-art site that our team has worked incredibly hard on to get to where we are today. It has the capacity to service 150 stores, which is nearly triple the amount of some of our existing warehouses, demonstrating the true scale of our ambition and growth potential.”
Automation will be key to the new RDC, with Lidl claiming that the Luton facility will be “the first Lidl GB warehouse to feature automation, helping to store more goods and increase capacity”.
Another key focus in the construction of the site was sustainability. An annual total of 2 million kWH of electricity is expected to be generated by solar panels – enough to exclusively power the warehouse at “certain times” throughout the year.
In addition, the delivery fleet on-site is fuelled by biogas from food waste. This will contribute to Lidl’s target of completely eliminating the use of diesel fuel across its entire fleet by 2030.
This news further demonstrates the resilience of the retail warehousing sector in spite of “strong economic headwinds”. A recent Savills report revealed that discount retailers were some of the strongest companies in terms of new openings in the first half of 2023.
In the first six months of the year, Lidl opened 22 new facilities, totalling 425,300ft². This made Lidl the occupier with the second highest new openings in the UK by units and the third highest by square footage.
The site’s opening attracted the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, who commented: “It’s 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.”
Up to 1,500 jobs are expected to be generated by the new RDC.