Could Tesco be preparing to use Chatteris as guinea pig for launch of new chain of discount stores to take on Aldi and Lidl?
Chatteris could become the retailing epicentre of a discount supermarket revolution if, as predicted today, Tesco use the vacant portion of its mothballed superstore to launch a brand to counter Aldi.
According to reports in The Times, Tesco is at an advanced stage in proposals to use the remaining 26,500 square feet of its Fenland Way property to launch its new discount brand.
Tesco is said to be have tasked retail director Lawrence Harvey – who they recruited from Aldi two years ago – to spearhead its assault on the discount market.
A second empty unit – at Immingham in Lincolnshire – could also be converted to a Tesco style Lidl/Aldi.
Both the Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire superstores planned by Tesco were at an advanced stage prior to the company pulling the plug. Both would be a low cost entry into the market with minimal of fitting out to be done.
The Times says that Mr Harvey has been handed a team of “dozens of people” to draw up a viable business plan that could begin the task of countering Aldi, Lidl and other discount stores.
Tesco is not alone in losing market share to the discounters and Chatteris and Immingham are thought to offer an ideal opportunity for a low outlay trial.
Tesco has refused to comment on the speculation.
Grocer magazine described Mr Harvey as having “a sharp mind is dynamic and engaging and cares passionately about his team and the business”.