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Cut-price supermarket chain Aldi has struck a cornerstone deal for its WA expansion by landing on a 13.5ha site at Jandakot Airport for a major warehouse and distribution centre.

The 48,000sqm facility will anchor a network of as many as 70 Aldi stores, up from the 60 suggested by the group when it disclosed its plans six months ago.

Aldi joins two dozen other WA, national and international tenants at the Jandakot City project, the 150ha commercial and industrial precinct developed by Ascot Capital on surplus land adjacent to the airport entrance.

The German-owned global retailer further added to its momentum by naming an inaugural State managing director, Victorian executive Andrew Starr, to oversee the push west.

Given Aldi's notoriously tight media policy, Mr Starr was unavailable for comment yesterday. He is currently head of its western Victorian operations.

The group, which has 300 stores in Queensland, NSW, the ACT and Victoria, is spending $450 million to establish itself in WA.

In a short statement yesterday, Aldi said the Jandakot site for the distribution centre was "the best fit for our needs".

It is understood to have chosen the location over competition from two alternative sites in Forrestfield and Canning Vale.

The group has simultaneously been recruiting area managers and scouting sites for its 1500sqm, warehouse-style supermarkets, seeking properties on major roads and boasting immediate catchment populations of at least 20,000 people.

It has advertised for freehold development sites or new or existing rental space in shopping malls and strips.

The first store is not expected to open until 2015. The distribution centre should be completed in 2016, subject to approvals.

The West Australian

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