- Lidl has announced plans to open 25 new stores by spring of 2020 as part of its East Coast expansion, according to a company press release. The new locations will be in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
- The discount grocer said in a statement that it is committed to long-term growth in the U.S. By the end of next year, Lidl expects to have more than 100 stores in operation and to create more than 1,000 new jobs in nine states.
- Lidl also said it will close two North Carolina stores this summer. All employees will have the opportunity to relocate to another new Lidl location.
If there were any lingering questions about whether Lidl would let its past stumbles stop it from expanding further in the U.S., this announcement offers clarity.
Poised to make its move on the East Coast, this new roster of openings includes the first four Lidl locations on Long Island, which were recently announced by the grocer and will open early next year. In that announcement, the company indicated that it was the "first of several waves of openings" coming for the discounter.
Lidl spokesperson Will Harwood told Grocery Dive that the new stores announced today will include a wide range of new builds, remodels and conversions.
"We have more than a dozen stores under construction at the moment," Harwood said.
When the retailer initially came to the U.S., its choice of real estate — mid-block, hard to access sites — faced scrutiny by grocery store site choosers and planners. This time around, Lidl looks to place its stores in locations more convenient to shoppers. In addition to newly constructed stores, the discounter will take over existing retail spaces, learning to be more adaptive with the new spaces as it builds, Harwood said.
Since naming a new U.S. president and CEO last year, Lidl's efforts in the states have seen fewer missteps and more momentum, from its acquisition of Best Market last December to its new partnership with Boxed to pilot home delivery in New York and Georgia.
Despite its slow start in the U.S., consumer sentiment toward Lidl is positive. A recent Bain & Company report found that Lidl captured 3% or more of grocery market share in five of seven markets that were studied, and consulting firm Oliver Wyman found last summer that almost half of Lidl shoppers go there at least twice a month.
While its footprint so far pales in comparison to rival Aldi's 1,600 stores across 35 states, Lidl's commitment to U.S. expansion could still challenge Aldi. In fact, tension between the two discount retailers has reached new heights in the past few months. In February, Lidl hired an Aldi veteran as its U.S. chairman, and a month later Aldi accused Lidl U.S. of stealing proprietary information about its expansion and real estate plans.