- Discount grocer Lidl announced it will open it's first New York location at Staten Island Mall in 2019, according to an article in Winsight Grocery Business.
- This will be the German retailer's first location in a U.S. shopping mall. Previously, Lidl focused on smaller, more suburban locations, for its initial 2017 launch in the U.S. This will also be the first grocery store for the Staten Island Mall.
- Lidl's 36,000 square foot store is part of a larger mall redevelopment project, which includes the expansion of a new wing and a three-level parking deck.
Opening a store in New York City's Staten Island Mall is a divergence from two of its U.S. strategies. First, it’s a far larger market than the retailer has picked in the past. And second, it's setting up shop in a mall, as opposed to a stand-alone store.
After years of great success in Europe, the popular chain launched in the U.S. last summer, but received tepid interest from American consumers.
Earlier this month, Klaus Gehrig, CEO of the Schwarz Group, which owns Lidl, told German business publication Manager Magazin, that he estimates the discounter will open 20 stores in 2018 — less than half of the 49 openings over the past seven months, and well shy of the stated goal to open 100 stores by June of this year.
If Lidl's Staten Island grocery store is a success, it will have to pull loyal shoppers away from Staten Island mainstays like Stop & Shop and Key Food.
One advantage to the newcomer could be its location in a mall that attracts some 12 million visitors a year. The question is if consumers will like the shopping experience and see enough of a difference in prices to come back.
In this regard, choosing a mall location was a smart move. It's also an increasingly common choice for grocery stores looking to find new locations. As popular department stores lose customers to on-line shopping, malls are seeing vacancies which grocers like Kroger and Wegmans are happy to move into. The built-in foot traffic and ample parking space could both be advantages for Lidl.
In many ways the mall location is a safer bet for Lidl than a stand-alone store, which has not attracted as many customers as hoped. If this new store does well, expect to see Lidl consider more large cities and malls as options for future stores.