Lidl is a discount grocery chain in Germany but the company has just announced its first expansion into the United States market. This migration will involve the opening of 20 new stores in the US, along the East Coast, this summer. More specifically, the stores will be located in Virginia and the Carolinas and, most likely, will be in direct competition with the Cincinatti (Ohio)-based American grocer, Kroger. Kroger, of course, is a traditional supermarket chain (not discount), though the company tends to sell very affordable products within 160 North Carolina, 106 Virginia, and 35 South Carolina outlets.
To be fair, though, Lidl has more than 10,000 stores across 27 countries with plans to open at least another 80 stores along the US Atlantic coast within the next year (and more expansion in the future).
According to a statement from the company: “Customers are being forced to choose between quality, price, and convenience, and this is a compromise they shouldn’t have to make. At Lidl, we are committed to delivering outstanding quality goods to our customers at market leading prices. We are carefully curating our selection to ensure every choice in our stores is a great choice for our customers.”
Indeed, Lidl US president and CEO, Brendan Proctor comments, “What we’ve seen and heard is that a lot of customers feel they’re being forced to compromise. So they’re either getting okay quality at a cheap price or they’re getting good quality and having to pay very, very high prices.”
Proctor goes on to say, “Thanks to the efficient work of our team, we are excited to announce that Lidl will open its first stores in the United States ahead of schedule. We are thrilled to introduce residents across the East Coast to a unique shopping experience.”
Accordingly, Kantar Retail analyst Mike Paglia argues that the retailers most affected by this competition will be bigger brands like Giant and Safeway. These companies, he says, are not necessarily providing any unique offerings.
Lidl, however, is able to “quickly innovate and adapt what they do at a pace no one can match,” he notes. “Given their success in other markets, given the projections that we have for them, I think it’s safe to say that Lidl’s entrance in the U.S. will be one of the biggest events in U.S. retail over the next couple of years.”