Supermarket group Lidl has today opened its new €100m distribution centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare - its single biggest investment made by Lidl here since 2000.

Lidl said the centre will deliver new cost efficiencies, which will benefit customers in the form of cost savings.

From January, Lidl will cut prices on 500 products after a price reduction on over 250 products in the past six months.

It said its new distribution centre's increased capacity means it can store 49 million products as a result of the streamlining of operations. Over 60% of these products will come from its network of Irish suppliers.

The distribution centre has the capacity to serve Lidl's network of 90 stores in the Leinster area.

The project saw up to 2,000 construction jobs created during the building phase, followed by the creation of a further 100 new full-time roles on completion. 

These new full-time positions are in addition to the 250 permanent staff who will move over from Lidl's existing distribution centre.

Energy efficiency is a key feature of the new distribution centre and Lidl has invested €1m in its rooftop solar panel array - the largest on any building in the country. Over 25% of the centre's energy requirements will now be generated by solar power.

Other sustainability and biodiversity initiatives at the centre include heat recovery from refrigeration and only natural refrigerants, a commitment to zero waste to landfill, roof-mounted rainwater tanks, wildflower meadows and a woodland area with 5,700 native trees to Ireland. 

Speaking at the official opening of the new distribution centre, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said it represented a huge investment by the company in Ireland and a vote of confidence in the economy.

"It is also a welcome development for the people of Kildare, who will benefit from the creation of 100 new jobs, in addition to the 250 people that Lidl already employs in the region," Mr Donohoe said.

"In particular, we welcome the company's decision to build a sustainable and future-proofed facility that does not generate landfill waste. It is proof that a business can be sustainable and tackle climate change while also generating revenue, driving efficiencies and creating jobs," the Minister added. 

JP Scally, Managing Director of Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland, said that by increasing its storage capacity and streamlining supply chains it will achieve even higher levels of efficiencies and in turn deliver considerable savings to shoppers across the country.