German discount grocer Aldi may be getting some new, yet very familiar competition in the U.S. market as Lidl, also originating from Germany, is gearing up for expansion with a brand new corporate office based outside of Washington D.C.
Lidl has become a very successful discount grocer throughout Europe, and with sales reaching $102 billion in the 2013-2014 year, it has become the third-largest retailer in Europe. For several years there has been talk about the grocer expanding into the American market, but Lidl instead shifted focus on continued growth in Europe.
A few years can make a difference though, and with Aldi seeing double-digit increases in annual sales, Lidl looks to be ready to take the plunge with a planned rollout of at least 100 stores in the U.S., focusing on the East Coast at first.
The first big step in the rollout is the supposed $56.6 million purchase of commercial building in Arlington, Virginia by Lidl’s real estate affiliate MGP Retail Consulting LLC. It is believed that Lidl will be using a majority of the 217,500-square-foot building to house their American corporate offices, including a food lab and test kitchen.
Lidl has yet to confirm the purchase, but did acknowledge their focus on entering the market. “As has been reported, Lidl is in the early stages of preparation to operate in the United States,” a Lidl spokesperson said in a statement. “We are taking steps toward that effort. However, we are not able to comment on any particular transaction at this time.”
Aldi has shown that the discount grocery system that has proven successful in Germany and throughout Europe works in the U.S. and has established name recognition after being in the States since 1976. Is America ready for another German competitor? With Lidl expected to begin opening up stores sometime in 2015/16, it will be interesting to see what new competition will do to the market.