Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 18:13 UK

Supermarkets sweep to the north

Major retail chains are locked in a supermarkets sweep to the Highlands and Islands.

Applications for sites across the region are at various stages in the planning process.

Meanwhile, Aldi's ambitions are being fuelled in part by a growth in sales because of the credit crunch and shoppers seeking cheaper goods.

Here the BBC Scotland news website takes a look at where various chains want to expand to.


Aldi's first shop in Inverness and another in Elgin, Moray, are due to open by Christmas.

The company has hopes of opening a second in Inverness and stores in Fort William, Aviemore, Dingwall, Alness/Tain, Wick, Thurso, Nairn and Forres.

It said the moves were part of a general expansion and a growing understanding among the public of what it offers.

Aldi said a sales surge due to the credit crunch and changing habits of shoppers were also factors.


Elgin is the furthest north Asda has a store but it has plans for outlets in Inverness and Tain.

Both were approved locally by Highland Council and referred to the Scottish Government for consideration. Public inquiries are to be held this autumn.

A spokeswoman said the plans represented millions of pounds of investment and the prospect of new jobs.

She added: "Petrol is also a huge issue for many people in these areas and, with recent price rises, real choice on where to fill up will be welcomed by these communities."


Lidl trades from seven stores in the Highlands but does not have a presence on the Western Isles.

The company said it has been encouraged by the reception to its plans to open in Portree on Skye.

Lidl opened its first stores in Scotland 14 years ago and has a shop in Kirkwall on Orkney.

A spokesman said: "When you are presented with anecdotal evidence from customers that they regularly travel in excess of 100 miles to visit one of your stores - that is a driving force."


Sainsbury's have been granted outline planning permission for a site in Nairn, Nairnshire - its first in the Highlands.

The company said it was "thrilled" by the reaction of local people to its proposals.

Following on from the opening of a new store in Edinburgh earlier this year - its first new store in Scotland for five years - Sainsbury's hopes to make some further announcements in the months ahead.

A spokeswoman said: "There are several opportunities for Sainsbury's, for example, the Highlands and North East Scotland has suffered from limited choice in supermarket retailing outside of Aberdeen and Dundee and this is something that we want to help address."


Tesco acquired two of its Inverness stores from other chains and its third by outbidding competitors when the developers of the Inverness Retail Park asked for tenders.

Last week, it submitted a detailed planning application for a food store, petrol filling station, GP surgery, community building, additional retail units and a public square at Holm, Inverness.

Holm is the first of the city supermarkets its made a planning application for.

A spokesman said Tesco's choice of sites followed analysis of customers' shopping habits.

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24 Jun 08 |  Highlands and Islands
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04 Dec 07 |  Highlands and Islands
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31 Oct 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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