In this file:


·         Low-cost German grocer plots US invasion

·         German Newcomer Lidl Threatens Walmart in Discount Grocery Wars

·         Lidl USA Invasion Begins With 20 Stores, Will Trigger Price Competition



Low-cost German grocer plots US invasion


By Lisa Fickenscher, New York Post

May 17, 2017


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...





German Newcomer Lidl Threatens Walmart in Discount Grocery Wars


Phil Wahba, Fortune

May 17, 2017


Here come more German grocers.


Lidl, a Teutonic discount supermarket chain, is set to open its first U.S. stores next month, in a move that could jeopardize Walmart's (wmt, +1.80%) hard fought share gains in the lower-priced grocery wars.


The retailer announced on Wednesday its first 20 U.S. stores would open June 15 in the Carolinas and Virginia, with another 80 slated within a year. Lidl, pronounced "Leedle," will go head to head with another German discounter, Aldi, and other grocers using its well-honed strategy of operating no-frills, small stores of about 20,000 square-feet and a heavy emphasis on store brands it says are on par with national brands. Some 90% of merchandise will be its own products, a tactic that offers higher margins and more control over inventory and offer low prices.


At a media event earlier in the week in New York, Lidl sought to burnish its image as a purveyor of quality products despite the lower prices and tap what it considers an underserved markets. Among the products it displayed were certified fresh and frozen seafood, wines, Italian cheeses, and baked goods.


"This is the right time for us to enter the United States," Brendan Proctor, Lidl U.S. CEO, told reporters.


Lidl, which is well established in Europe with about 10,000 stores, could grow to have a $8.8 billion in sales by 2023 with 630 stores, according to a 2016 forecast by Kantar Retail. And rivals are taking notice.


The move represents a new challenge to traditional grocers like Kroger (kr, +1.33%) and Walmart (wmt, +1.80%), which last year rolled out vastly improved fresh food sections at thousands of stores. Though Lidl is unlikely to be a place where shoppers do their full week's grocery, its lower prices could hurt the likes of Walmart or Target (tgt, +1.27%) for so called "fill-in" trips, when people go to pick up a few items. And Lidl's arrival comes at a time when Whole Foods Market (wfm, +0.28%) is expanding its 365 chain of lower-price grocery stores.


Walmart has long felt pressure from Aldi...


more, including chart, links



Lidl USA Invasion Begins With 20 Stores, Will Trigger Price Competition


Walter Loeb, Forbes

May 17, 2017


Following two years of planning and preparations, Lidl will open its first several stores on June 15, 2017. Having already opened distribution centers in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland, the initial locations will be concentrated on the Atlantic Seaboard states. Plans are underway to open 100 stores by the summer of 2018. I expect an acceleration of store openings after the initial push.


Lidl operates more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries throughout Europe. Its keys to success are first, offering the highest quality fresh produce, meat, bakery and a wide assortment of household products all at very low prices; and second, running a low-cost operation. Displaying groceries in cut boxes and not providing shopping bags are just two of the many operational cost savings initiatives in place. The ever-changing selection of non-food items is also an important success factor as the approach increases shopping frequency.


The first 20 stores will open in North Carolina at Kingston, Greenville, Wilson, Sanford, Rocky Mount, Winston-Salem, Havelock, Rockingham, Wake Forest; in South Carolina at Spartanburg, Greenville; in Virginia at Virginia Beach, Hampton, Culpeper, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, North Chesterfield and 2 in Richmond. I see additional stores opening in Maryland and other states thereby building volume and creating operating leverage in the three distribution centers that are now open.


At a meeting in New York senior management showed some of their fine foods prepared under the supervision of Amanda Freitag. Ms. Freitag is a well known a chef and author of The Chef Next Door, as well as a judge on the Food Network’s popular program Chopped. The food was of the highest quality. Management also presented an exciting wine selection that will be sold in stores. What I found particularly helpful are the wine classifications. In-store merchandising and marketing of wine via these classifications will drive more sales of the product by making what is in the bottle less of a mystery for the consumer. The classifications are: