Discount retailer Aldi is looking at opening a number of stores in more affluent areas in the UK, the company confirmed today (22 October).

The announcement follows research by CACI, which pinpointed 1,000 areas where discount retailers could expand, particularly in the south of the UK.

CACI's ProVision 2008 data revealed that while the demographic group most frequenting Aldi and Lidl for their main grocery shopping are 'struggling families', it is the mid-market 'secure families' who are key to the discounters' changing fortunes.

CACI said that the retailers future growth will hinge on maximising the visits of these 'secure families' who, while not visiting for their main weekly shop, are the largest demographic group using Aldi and Lidl for their regular 'top-up' visits.

"The people who go to Aldi and Lidl to top up their main weekly shop are representative of the population living nearest to those stores," said Paul Langston, associate director for location strategy, CACI. "So if Aldi and Lidl can locate in new areas with similar demographic profiles they stand to attract a good customer base.

"As well as struggling and secure families, this includes many of the wealthiest groups in the UK, many of whom are traditionally Sainsbury's shoppers. These cash-rich, time-rich 'affluent greys' and the 'flourishing families' will use Aldi and Lidl if they are within the catchment - significantly increasing the discounters' market share."

The report pinpointed London and the South East as presenting the greatest opportunities for the discount grocers, where they currently have few stores and where many of their target customers lie.

In am email statement seen by just-food, Peter Casey, managing director for Aldi's Swindon region said: "We are experiencing strong growth across the whole of the UK and over half of our customers are now in the ABC1 category - about 17% up on a year ago.

"Our plans to open one store a week, until we reach our target of 1,500 UK stores are well underway and we are currently looking at locations across the whole of the UK, many of which are highlighted in the CACI's findings. Discounters occupy more than 40% of the German market so we believe there is a substantial opportunity to grow our UK market share."