A SUPERMARKET chain is looking to open several new stores across Dorset, creating hundreds of jobs.

Aldi described Dorset as an important growth area and is now looking for sites in Dorchester, Shaftesbury, Blandford, Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch with further towns expected to be announced soon.

The new openings are part of the budget chain’s plan to open 1,000 new stores in the UK in the next few years and comes as it overtakes the Co-operative as the UK’s fifth biggest supermarket, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi, said: “If you look at the population, we think not only could we have a store in every town and city, but for every 25,000 to 30,000 people."

“We have 700 stores now and 300 sites already approved on our books. And there are 600 towns where we don’t have a store; in many of which we could easily have two, three or four stores.”

An Aldi spokesperson confirmed that they were considering new locations for stores across Dorset as well as across the UK.

The spokesperson added: "Once we have confirmed a location we will update the local community."

Aldi already has three stores in Bournemouth at Holdenhurst Road and Wallisdown Road while a third store opened at Mallard Road retail park late last year.

The new store created 30 new jobs for the local community and includes a net sales area of 1,114 sqm, along with a shared car park of 500 spaces.

Aldi also has other stores on Palmerston Road in Boscombe, Meteor Park in Christchurch and Pitwines Close in Poole.

Ian Girling, chief executive of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news and said: “Aldi clearly has ambitious plans in place in terms of expansion.

"It’s encouraging to see Dorset as a growth area Aldi that recognise and I am sure new stores will be welcomed in the named towns.

"This is clearly also good news in terms of creating jobs in these areas."

The news despite Aldi reported a fall in profits this year after the price war between the other rival big five started to eat into its own profitability, falling 1.8 per cent to £255m but beating its rival LIDL who have a smaller presence in the county.

Lidl is investing £1.5bn over 2015-18 for their national expansion, including the opening and upgrading of new and existing Lidl stores in and around Dorset.

Part of those plans have seen a new store open in Blandford last year and has a new one planned for Ringwood on the county border.