There was somewhat muted excitement for shoppers this morning as German supermarket chain Lidl opened its first central London store on Tottenham Court Road, during a pandemic.

Front of supermarket.
A Lidl excitement on Tottenham Court Road as a new shop opens.

Normally I’d be thrilled about the opening of a new food store close to home but shopping has lost much of its pleasure and become one of the riskiest things I do at the moment. I get to the shop, pick what I want, all while trying to keep a safe distance from everyone else. No time to stop and talk — just get on with it and get home.

Situated opposite Warren Street tube station and immediately next to University College Hospital, Lidl’s new store replaces the Sainsbury’s that closed last year and the new shop seemed vaguely familiar. In fact the layout is almost identical. It’s as if Lidl just replaced all the labels and branding. Well, not quite. But you might get what I mean on your first visit.

Lidl sent us a press release and their GB CEO, Christian Härtnagel, had this to say: “We know how important our role is at this time in helping keep the nation fed. Through the opening of this new store on Tottenham Court Road, we’re proud that we can provide the local community and frontline workers at University College Hospital with access to the essential products they need, at affordable prices.

“We would like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to all frontline workers for their efforts and commitment, including our incredible team working at the new store, who join the rest of our workforce in doing a truly amazing job during these extremely challenging times.”

Lidl say they been liaising with the hospital to understand how to best meet NHS worker needs and will be donating snacks and fruit and veg directly to NHS workers. It’s also nice to know that the store will be providing the local charity Rhythms of Life with surplus food from the store, working to support homeless people in the local community. 

The store has in place a range of social distancing measures to manage the volume of people entering at one time. The checkouts have protective screens and customers are encourage to use contactless payments.

Lidl is part of the Schwarz retail group, and the TCR store is part of the supermarket’s £1.45bn investment in its expansion across Great Britain in 2019 and 2020 and a £500m investment in London by 2025.

Lidl, Tottenham Court Road. Open between 7am and 10pm Monday to Saturday and 11am and 5pm on Sunday.