Lidl aims to have several dozen stores in the United States in 2018, a launch currently being prepared by some 200 people locally. In the meantime, the German discounter will invest another 2.1 billion euro into its British branch.
"United States is a strategic market"
After years of speculation, Lidl has finally unfolded its American plans: starting in 2018, it wants to open some 50 stores. "The United States are a strategic market for us. We will launch there with several dozen stores", CEO Sven Seidel told German business paper Handelsblatt in an interview. Stores will open in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carollina, Maryland and Washington DC in an investment worth more than 200 million euro.
Some 200 employees are already preparing the American launch, with future stores having to fit the chain's recent evolution: a slightly "higher" product range in more attractive stores, all the while keeping hold of that discount nature: a smaller product range at lower prices.
That strategy should help Lidl compete with its biggest competitor, Aldi, although the latter has been in the United States for 40 years. By 2018, Aldi hopes to have some 2,000 stores in the United States, which means it will add about 650 stores in the next 2 years. Sven Seidel also confirmed Lidl will enter the Latvian market next year, while Serbia will also get its first stores in 2018.
Huge investment in British activities
Prior to its American launch, Lidl will invest 2.1 billion euro into its British expansion over the next three years. The discount chain currently has 620 stores in the region, but wants to add another 880 stores by 2018, 280 of those in London alone.
According to Lidl, customers have asked the chain to expand to this level: "We are always impressed when we see the huge amount of people coming to us and asking whether we can open a Lidl in their city", Ingo Fischer (responsible for Lidl Uk's expansion plans) said.
Lidl UK's turnover grew 21 % last year to 4 billion pounds (some 5.65 billion euro), while parent company Schwarz Gruppe reached a 78 billion euro turnover. That means it only trails American Walmart and French Carrefour for now ...