German retailer Aldi to build 75 mln pound UK distribution center

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Aldi plans to build a new distribution center in the southeast of England to supply the German discount supermarket chain's expanding British network, it said on Monday.

The company has earmarked more than 75 million pounds ($99 million) to build a center in Bedford on a site covering an area equivalent to 20 soccer pitches, creating 400 jobs.

The battle over Britain's supermarket shoppers has ramped up over the past decade as fast-growing discounters Aldi and Lidl have forced market leaders such as Tesco and Sainsbury's to cut prices.

Aldi last month reported a third straight year of falling profit but reiterated its commitment to expansion in Britain. Already the UK's fifth-biggest supermarket chain, Aldi aims to lift the number of its UK stores to 1,000, from 726, by 2022.

"More than half of all UK households now regularly shop with us and many more prospective customers tell us they would switch supermarkets if there was an Aldi nearby," said Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland.

"This gives us the confidence to continue investing in our operations and infrastructure." ($1 = 0.7595 pounds)

(Reporting by Polina Ivanova; Editing by David Goodman)