As March Co-op, formerly Somerfield, prepares to become Iceland, discounter Lidl plans big town expansion

What the new look Lidl will look like

What the new look Lidl will look like - Credit: Archant

THE Co-operative Food Store may be thinking of selling its March High Street store to Iceland but for discount trader Lidl expansion locally is in the air.

The company has applied to Fenland District Council for permission to add nearly 30 per cent more sales and storage space to its Dartford Road store.

Lidl says its March store was one of their first and as such is no longer suitable for modern day shoppers.

They plan to revamp the entire store and bring it in line with the rest of their chain “and enable improvements to be made to the customer experience, principally by enabling Lidl to stock its products in greater depth”.

Lidl says the cramped trading conditions will go and be replaced by “increases in the width of aisles and the also the distance between aisles and check outs.”

Their agents have told the council that they are keen to press ahead with the March improvements which form part of around 40 applications for new and improved outlets in recent years.

Lidl says it may only sell a limited number of products- 1,600 at all stores- but “all of our business practices are aimed at driving down costs so that we can provide exceptional value for money.”

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A retail assessment accompanies the Lidl application in which they reflect upon the difference between themselves and some of the bigger supermarkets.

Lidl’s lack of a post office, pharmacy, delicatessen, photo shop, or other in house facility” means that the overlap with conventional supermarkets is limited”.

Meanwhile Iceland has confirmed it is taking over the March Co-op – previously part of the Somerfield chain – and expects to move in by Christmas.

A spokesman for the Manchester owned Co-operative Society however declined to confirm the sale.

“I’ve looked into your query and I’m afraid we are unable to comment on speculation,” said their spokesman.