THE BATTLE of the store wars continues as supermarket giants Aldi and Lidl race to secure some of our most prime south Essex sites.

Aldi have now announced plans to open eight new stores across the area, including in Basildon, Canvey, Leigh, Rayleigh, Rochford/Hockley, Shoebury, Stanford-Le-Hope/Corringham and Tilbury- all part of the target 1,200 stores which the budget supermarket have planned to open by 2025.

The announcement comes just weeks after Lidl set out aspirational plans to open six new stores across south Essex, including in Basildon, Billericay, and Wickford, as well as more central parts of Southend, Rayleigh, and Rochford.

But plans have left shoppers questioning whether more supermarkets are actually needed, or whether stores are just popping up to take out the competition.

Tim Gillett, 59 from Shoebury, said: “Our town has already reached its saturation point, there are already far too many food shops here.

“They’re already putting a new Lidl up in the Garrison with a Sainsbury’s a quarter of a mile away and there’s three shops which sell food along the high street. 

“This is along with our Asda, the Co-op on West Road and a whole range of takeaways. How much do we actually need? There’s no room in Shoebury left.

“I wonder if they’re actually interested in providing more choice for the customer or solely taking on the opposition. It’s a supermarket war.”

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council, added: “I think it’s generally a good thing that shops want to expand - I’m sure they wouldn’t be proposing it if they didn’t think there was a demand for it.”

Ciaran Aldridge, National Property Director at Aldi UK, said: “Aldi is growing rapidly, but there are also hundreds of towns across the UK where there is not an Aldi, meaning there are hundreds of thousands of people who can’t easily access the high quality, affordable food our customers love.

"We are willing to explore all opportunities, including developer-led schemes or existing retail units.”