Lidl has ambitious plans in the USA and the company is getting a head start on things with a new prototype store.German grocery giant Lidl has ambitious plans in the works to open 100 stores on the East Coast of the United States by the end of 2018, and the company is getting a head start on things with a new prototype store. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, that store located in the Fredericksburg area of Virginia, a state that will see some of the country’s first US stores this summer.
All told, Lidl plans to open 20 stores this summer in the Mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. As for the prototype store, it’s significantly larger than a Lidl store that would be found in Europe. The Fredericksburg location checks in at roughly 21,000 square feet, which is about 35 percent bigger than the majority of the chain’s largest stores.
Despite the massive size, US chief executive Brendan Proctor indicates that the company aims to streamline the shopping experience by offering a carefully curated assortment of goods. “A lot of the supermarkets are so large; it’s a challenge for people to go shopping. If I wanted to go in and get a bottle of ketchup - first of all, there are probably about 24 aisles in the store. I have to find what aisle it’s in. I get there; I find that there are 50 types of ketchup. Who honestly needs 50 types of ketchup? So we can streamline that,” he explains.
For Lidl, the current US model calls for just six aisles, as well as an assortment of islands that will feature goods such as produce. Additionally, they’re taking advantage of the prototype phase to identify ways the company may be able to reduce waste in a bid to cut costs for consumers.
“What we’ve seen and heard is that a lot of customers feel they’re being forced to compromise. So they’re either getting OK quality at a low price, or they’re getting good quality and having to pay very, very high prices,” Brendan Proctor continued.
Add it all up, and Lidl is positioning itself to hit the ground running when its first US stores open this summer. There has been lots of anticipation about Lidl entering the US market, and analyst Mike Paglia of Kantar Retail believes the company has the potential to be a disruptive force.
“They’re able to quickly innovate and adapt what they do at a pace no one can match. Given their success in other markets, given the projections that we have for them, I think it’s safe to say that Lidl’s entrance in the US will be one of the biggest events in US retail over the next couple of years,” he said.
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24 FEBRUARY 2017, USA