ALDI has announced it is on the lookout for 15 new stores in Essex - including one in the Chelmsford area.

The German supermarket giant, now the UK's fifth largest chain, has been on a massive expansion drive in recent years, opening about one store a week on average to meet demand.

And the firm is looking to open 15 new stores in Essex in the near future, including one in Colchester.

Aldi, which now has more than 900 stores across the UK, is looking for freehold town-centre or edge-of-centre sites suitable for development.

It says each site should be around 1.5 acres and able to accommodate a 20,000 sq ft store with around 100 parking spaces, ideally on a prominent main road and with good visibility and access.

Aldi already has three stores in Chelmsford - but wants to open one in South Woodham Ferrers.

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Ciaran Aldridge, National Property Director at Aldi UK, said: “We have been investing in Britain for more than 30 years now, but we know that there are still areas that either do not have an Aldi at all, or that need another store to meet customer demand.

“Shoppers are increasingly looking to get unbeatable prices on their weekly shop without compromising on quality.

"That’s why, more so than ever, we’re keen to explore all opportunities to open new stores across the country.”

The full list of locations it is targeting in Essex are:

• Basildon

• Brentwood

• Canvey Island

• Colchester

• Epping

• Great Dunmow

• Harlow

• Leigh on Sea

• Rayleigh

• Rochford/Hockley

• Shenfield

• Shoeburyness

• South Woodham Ferrers

• Stanford Le Hope/Corringham

• Tilbury