Uxbridge residents question Lidl's plan for shopping centre store
Discount supermarket chain Lidl is to open a store in Uxbridge town centre. The German retailer is set to occupy one floor of what was the BHS site in Intu shopping centre, becoming one of over 700 stores across the UK.
Laurie Taylor, general manager at Intu Uxbridge, said the move was part of creating a “strong, more attractive appeal for Uxbridge town centre”. The new store will give consumers greater supermarket choice, adding to the Sainsbury’s and Tesco Metro that are already in the town.
Sabrina Jilliah, 39, of Harlington Road, thought the plans were “a bit weird”. “Maybe no other retailers wanted it, so it’s better than nothing,” she said. “At least it’s not a cheap pound shop.”
This is the latest move in the rapid recent growth of discount supermarkets. Aldi and Lidl are more popular than ever, as people strive to reduce their weekly spend. With around 1,500 stores between them in the UK, they provide a realistic alternative to the major supermarket chains.
However, Uxbridge residents questioned the need for the discount retailer, particularly considering Lidl’s Cowley Road store is less than a mile away.
Darren Weldon, 43, of St Clement Close, described the move as “utterly ridiculous”. “It’s certainly not the place for a supermarket. I would imagine a clothing retailer would be more in keeping with the surrounding stores,” he added.
Residents have expressed concerns over opening times, which would see the new branch close at 7pm on weekdays in line with the shopping centre, while the nearby Cowley Road store would continue to be open until 10pm.
Becca Mills, 19, is from Hillingdon but regularly travels to Uxbridge to shop. She echoed these sentiments: “There isn’t a way to shut off the rest of the centre like there is for Odeon and Frankie and Benny’s, and it’s going to be even busier with people having trolleys in the centre now”.
The centre opened in 2001 and was known as The Chimes until 2013, when it was renamed in line with the name change of its management companies.
Denise Langley, 60, of Granville Road, said: “I shop at Lidl but can’t see how this fits with the image. About a year or two after The Chimes opened, quite a few people asked for Primark. However, apparently this did not fit with the image. How times have changed.”
Work has already begun on the new Lidl store, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2019.