Aldi is planning to open up more new shops in the UK this year than Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons combined.

The discounter will open more than one million square feet of shop space – equating to roughly 60 stores throughout 2015.  While the big four have been closing stores over the past 12 months, Aldi’s expansion will result in twice as much store space than its nearest rivals.

The Aldi roll-out presents a latest threat to the independent convenience sector comes as as its focus will predominantly be on opening smaller stores, to tap into the rise of local top-up shopping.

Aldi’s expansion coincides with its announcement that it wants to have 1,000 stores by 2022 – almost double its current 560 stores.

Aldi’s planned extra one million square feet will dwarf the 600,000sq ft planned by Asda, Sainsbury’s additional 450,000sq ft, Morrison’s 220,000sq ft and Tesco’s 170,000sq ft. Marks & Spencer, whose smaller Simply Food stores have been a success, will be opening 600,000sq ft of extra retail space.