Forget Amazon, Lidl and Aldi are the grocery stores rivals should fear
Craig Giammona, Bloomberg
via The Morning Call - Jan 12, 2018
The price war in the American grocery aisle is getting more intense. And believe it or not, the reason isn't Amazon.com.
Amazon's debut as a brick-and-mortar grocery chain last year sent tremors through the supermarket industry, with Kroger Co. and other established players losing billions in market value. But with its plans for Whole Foods developing slowly, Amazon is looking like less of a short-term threat.
For now, Aldi and Lidl — two no-frills German discounters that are expanding quickly in the U.S. and the Lehigh Valley — are putting more pressure on grocery giants such as Kroger and Walmart Stores Inc.
"If it's death by a thousand cuts, Aldi and Lidl are holding the blade," said Mike Paglia, a grocery analyst at the research firm Kantar Retail. "It looks a lot like a price war, and you're starting to see those ripple effects."
Before Amazon.com jolted the food world with its $13.7 billion deal to purchase Whole Foods in June, Lidl's U.S. expansion was the biggest story in the grocery industry. Lidl, which operates thousands of stores across Europe, opened its first 10 U.S. locations on June 15, one day before Amazon announced its blockbuster acquisition.
Lidl is looking to open a store off Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem Township, which would make it the third store proposed for the Lehigh Valley. Last year, the company won approval to open a store at MacArthur and Eberhart roads in Whitehall Township at 25th Street and Freemansburg Avenue in Wilson.
The stores could open later this year.
Aldi, meanwhile, is on a hiring spree in the Lehigh Valley. It has stores in Easton, Allentown, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Whitehall.
Amazon still hasn't said much publicly about its long-term plans for Whole Foods, which has a store 750 N. Krocks Road in the Hamilton Crossings shopping center in Lower Macungie Township. And so far, the takeover hasn't brought sweeping changes. While price cuts on a handful of items drew customers and boosted sales in the wake of the deal, store traffic has returned to where it was...
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