German discount retailer Lidl has announced plans to invest as much as €30m (US$31.7m) in 2003 to open between 20 and 25 new stores in Belgium. The group plans to increase its store portfolio to 250 stores within the coming three years, up from its current total of 170. Lidl has been operating in Belgium for seven years, a relative newcomer which has challenged compatriot hard discounter Aldi. Aldi has been active in Belgium for 25 years and now operates some 350 stores there.