There’s an American invasion coming to Retail
Steve’s breakdown: The invader is Lidl, one of the largest European grocers, and they say they will crush it with low prices. If you can be on their team, this is the time to check into it because the troops are assembling. There’s even a count-down clock on their website.
ARLINGTON, VA & NECKARSULM, Germany: If Whole Foods, Walmart and food retailers think the grocery business is tough now — they better not peek around the corner.
Lidl, one of the largest European grocers — known for its rock-bottom prices — will next month begin a rollout of what they said will be 100 US stores dotted across the Southeast by the summer of 2018.
The German retailer is promising its prices will be up to 50 percent less than other US supermarkets.
Lidl is dipping it toe in the US market at a time when many traditional stateside grocers are under enormous competitive pressure with declining sales — due in part to stepped up competition from online delivery services like Amazon and FreshDirect.
Low-cost brick-and-mortar rivals like Costco — the country’s No. 1 seller of organic produce — are also giving Whole foods and Walmart a bit of indigestion.
At a press event on Tuesday where Lidl brass showed off the chain’s products, including wine, cheeses, breads that are shipped in from France, Italy and Germany (with finishing baking done in Lidl stores) as well packaged goods, Lidl is prepared to undercut its competitors wherever it plants a flag.
Though short on pricing details, Lidl lowers its costs by sourcing 90 percent of its goods from private label vendors, including wineries that are making exclusive products for the grocer.
“We will offer the highest quality for the lowest price,” said Lidl’s executive vice president of purchasing Boudewijn Tiktakhile, who pointed to a Malbac wine from Chile that will cost $6.99.
So far, Lidl is focused on buying its real estate and building new stores of 20,000 square feet for its initial incursion — around the size of a typical Trader Joe’s and a bit smaller than your typical grocery store.
But US president and chief executive, Brendan Proctor, said the company would be open to leasing stores after this year.
“We are procuring land and bringing our store designs from Europe,” Proctor told The Post, adding that Lidl stores have a lot of natural light that reduces its energy costs.
Lidl stores typically have six aisles in which the merchandise is displayed in its shipping cartons and customers bag their own groceries. It operates 10,000 stores in 27 countries throughout Europe and set up shop in the US in 2015 where its headquarters are in Arlington, Va.
The company says it will create 5,000 jobs here.