Lidl US to open first stores this summer: What we know so far

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lidl US prototype store in Fredericksburg, VA.
Lidl US prototype store in Fredericksburg, VA.

Related tags: Supermarket, Lidl

The German grocery chain’s first US stores will open this summer instead of at the end of the year as originally announced.

The first 20 stores to open will be located in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the company said in a press release. Currently, the company has three distribution centers, including a $100m facility in Maryland that also serves as regional headquarters​.

With its focus on discount-priced private label products, no frills store layout, and small staff-size per store, analysts expect Lidl’s competition with hometown rival Aldi to be a one-two punch in the US​ over the next several years.

Fresh produce, meat, and bakery items

Lidl’s European stores stock everything from produce to garments to appliances, a model which retail analysts have said may pose a threat​ to the likes of Target and Walmart. But the first stores opening will have a smaller assortment focus, Lidl US spokesperson William Harwood told FoodNavigator-USA.

“In terms of our assortment, much of these details will be set closer to launch,”​ he said. “However, I can tell you that our stores will focus on delivering top quality fresh produce, meat, bakery items, and a wide selection of household goods at the lowest possible prices.

“We will also introduce a promotional non-food section in our stores, which will feature an ever-changing assortment of in-and-out items,”​ he added. “This is a concept we have found to be very successful across Europe, and we're excited to introduce it here.”

E-commerce vs. Brick-and-Mortar—What’s next for Lidl US?

The company has been tight-lipped about its US expansion, and it remains to be seen if its US store openings this summer will also include an e-commerce operation, a trend that is slowly but surely growing in the grocery sector​. But Harwood said that this year, the company’s “focus [is] establishing those physical retail locations.”

One prototype store has been opened in Fredericksburg, VA, about an hour away from the Lidl US headquarters just outside of Washington DC​. Architecturally, the prototype store reflects the company’s standard store design, Harwood said.

The large glass windows of the façade differ greatly from the traditional warehouse feel common in the typology of American suburban grocery stores, delivering on Lidl US’ goal to “[introduce] American consumers to a different type of shopping experience."

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2 comments

This is what the US consumer needs

Posted by U.Schubert,

As a German living in the US since over 20 years, I came to appreciate the US grocery shops, because of their (mostly) fine presentation in clean shops, great fresh produce offerings and wide selection of secondary household items. However the prices in the US have been outrageously increased over the years: cheese is ridiculously pricey in the US, so that many consumers only can afford the so-called cheese in shingle or shredded format(cellulose fiber containing "Parmesan" coming to mind!). The products on fine meat cuts (ham, sausages) are equally overpriced it seems.
So it is only a reasonable economical approach from companies like ALDI and Lidl to make profits here in the US, where the food prices are so inflated - and in the process deliver even better (often international) quality products to the choice of US consumers. I cannot understand the criticism of the other commentator, citing bad product quality as a concern: I shop regularly at ALDI and even so I do not buy all their products (because I have certain taste preferences) , I have rarely been disappointed. ALDI even offers a variety of organic product selections and those are definitely nothing to frown upon. Any educated consumer can and should know what he/she buys and what the product is worth...

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This is not what we need

Posted by Ralph Hale,

As a private natural foods operator for 40 years, we and others like us are being slowly put out of business by policies that leave vulnerable markets up for grabs by foreign corporate giants. Do the states, municipalities and nation have the guts to say 'you are not welcome here? Of course not. They see tax dollars and the bright shiny object/myth: Jobs for everyone! Those that built this place will die to foreign companies and the US lust for getting stuff cheap. I'm glad I'm not a college aged kid.

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