Lidl is ahead of schedule for U.S. store openings
The German grocery chain, Lidl, is anxious to enter the American market and so far, at least, progress has been good. The company has announced plans to open 20 stores this summer in the Carolinas and Virginia. The chain, which plans to open 100 stores along the East Coast within its first year of operation, was not initially expected to begin opening locations until 2018.
Lidl, according to a Washington Post report, plans to open stores in the U.S. that have about 21,000-square-feet of selling space, about 35 percent larger than their counterparts in Europe. Inventory, as in the other 27 countries in which Lidl operates, will be streamlined.
“A lot of the supermarkets are so large, it’s a challenge for people to go shopping,” Brendan Proctor, CEO of Lidl US, who previously ran Lidl’s successful business in Ireland, told the Post. “If I wanted to go in and get a bottle of ketchup — first of all, there are probably about 24 aisles in the store. I have to find what aisle it’s in. I get there, I find that there’s 50 types of ketchup. Who honestly needs 50 types of ketchup?”
Lidl has made tweaks to its format in the U.S., including a different store façade. It turns out that Americans were reminded of car dealerships when they saw Lidl exteriors from Europe. Other changes include refrigerated beer and sampling in the store’s bakery department.
Lidl, according to a Kantar Retail report released last year, will open about 100 stores annually, reaching 630 units by 2023. Sales at the stores are expected to average about $10 million annually to begin, eventually climbing to more than $15 million. Total sales in the U.S. are projected to reach $8.8 billion over the next six years. To put that into perspective, the popular Wegmans chain’s sales were roughly $8.1 billion last year.
- Lidl opening first U.S. stores this year; earlier than expected – Richmond Times-Dispatch
- A first look at how German grocer Lidl plans to conquer the U.S. market – The Washington Post
- Will Aldi and Lidl replicate success in the U.S.? – RetailWire
- Lidl follows Aldi to the U.S. – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Lidl is prepared to take on the American grocery market? What are the biggest challenges it will face? What will its presence mean for established grocers in the markets where it will open stores?