SUPERMARKET chain Aldi has announced it will be opening 100 new stores across the UK over the next two years, with 12 towns targeted across Dorset to house new stores.

Aldi has pledged to invest £1.3 billion by 2021 to grow its retail estate with 12 locations earmarked across the county by the supermarket chain to host its new sites.

Weymouth, Bridport and Wareham are amongst those to have been picked out by the retailer amongst nine other Dorset towns.

“We’re continuing to gain even more customers, with over 60% of UK households shopping with Aldi in the last year,” said Richard Thornton, communications director at Aldi UK.

“Our focus is on expanding our store estate, making sure Aldi is accessible to as many of these new shoppers across the country as possible.”

In addition to Weymouth, Bridport and Wareham new sites have been targeted by Aldi across the BCP Conurbation at Christchurch and Poole.

As well as the nearby Ferndown, Verwood and Wimborne.

Further across Dorset Blandford, Shaftesbury, Sturminster Newton, Swanage and Wareham all have been identified as areas the supermarket chain would like to open new sites.

Aldi currently has 920 stores across the UK, with many in Dorset already, but is searching for freehold town-centre or edge of town-centre sites that would be suitable for property development.

The chain says while it has targeted these locations it is still looking for adequate sites to accommodate a 20,000 square foot store with around 100 parking spaces.

The retailer, which is Britain's fifth largest supermarket, prefers the sites to be located on a prominent main road and with good visibility and access.

In addition to creating new stores, Aldi say they will also be investing in the development of new and expanded distribution centres.

The supermarket has said they attract hundreds of thousands of new customers every year, which would only continue to rise with the creation of 100 new stores across the country.

Mr Thornton added: “Looking ahead, we are excited to provide millions of new customers with access to Aldi’s award-winning quality and unbeatable value as we create even more places and more ways to shop with us.”