- Lidl will open its first Long Island stores in Center Moriches and West Babylon on December 11, according to an email sent to Grocery Dive. The grocer will also open a store in Raleigh, North Carolina, that day.
- On December 18, Lidl will open additional stores in Bergenfield, New Jersey, and Fayetteville, North Carolina. The company's first store in Charlotte, North Carolina, opens tomorrow.
- The grand openings of the Long Island stores are the first of eight in the area to come between now and next summer. Lidl plans to open about 25 total stores on the East Coast by next year.
After months of planning and announcing future stores, December will be a busy month for Lidl as it oversees multiple store openings and officially debuts its business on Long Island.
The upcoming flurry of store openings represents a shift from the discounter’s original plan to expand its footprint westward to reach as many states as possible. According to an article in Forbes, Lidl had to rethink its expansion strategy due to poor site selection, proximity to distribution centers and tough competition from entrenched retailers. The company has already shuttered two North Carolina store locations.
Part of its new plan involved acquiring 27 Best Market locations in New York and New Jersey. The acquisition will help jumpstart its U.S. expansion and give Lidl a chance to keep pace in some areas where rival Aldi hasn't already set up shop. Lidl is fighting fiercely for market share in the region, even going head-to-head with a new Aldi store less than a mile away.
North Carolina also poses competitive challenges, with several retailers entering the state as they expand from other regions. American favorite Wegmans recently announced it will open four North Carolina stores, including a newly opened Raleigh location, while Sprouts continued its growth in the state this year with a new Charlotte store. Other major retailers in the region include Aldi, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods.
To compete in the saturated East Coast markets, Lidl has added a few updates to its stores including its Rethink Grocery tagline and market-style touches like blackboard signage in the meat department and wooden crates in the produce department. It also hopes to attract employees with newly added medical benefits for full and part-time employees, while raising the minimum wage for Long Island associates to $15 an hour.