Discount grocer Aldi has confirmed it is in the “initial stages” of expanding its US operations into California.

The company is in discussions to potentially locate a warehouse in Moreno Valley and is “developing plans to expand in southern California”, Aldi said yesterday (24 June).

Aldi emphasised it has expanded its US base “without merger or acquisition”, adding an average of 80 new stores a year “over the last several years”. The company operates more than 1,200 stores in the US, covering two-thirds of the country.

The move comes as UK grocer Tesco seeks a buyer for its Fresh & Easy operations in the region. The company is exiting the US, having struggled to turn a profit in the market.

This month, it was reported US billionaire investor Ron Burkle was in discussions to buy Fresh & Easy.

Bloomberg cited anonymous sources who said the two sides were in talks. Burkle, founder and managing partner of US investment fund Yucaipa Cos., wants to rebrand the Fresh & Easy outlets under the Wild Oats banner, the report said