Lidl is coming out of the starting gate in the United States earlier than expected — and it isn’t going to waste any time ramping up its store base.
The discount grocer will open its first U.S. stores this summer, with plans to open up to 100 locations across the East Coast within a year, the Associated Press reported. The chain initially had said it planned to enter the U.S. market no later than 2018.
Lidl’s first 20 U.S. stores will be located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Lidl, which operates some 10,000 stores in 27 countries, has opened a U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and is building distribution centers in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
Industry experts expect Lidl to go head to head in the United States with another German discount grocery powerhouse, Aldi. The chain is expanding at a rapid pace in the United States, and just recently announced a major, $1.6 billion store expansion and remodeling effort.
It appears that Lidl will try to set itself apart in the United States by not billing itself as a discount grocer. In a company presentation obtained by Business Insider, Lidl likened its U.S. format to a “hybrid,” similar to Trader Joe’s or Harris Teeter, but closer to a Trader Joe’s. (Trader Joe’s and Aldi are owned by the same company.”
"After three years of research, we discovered that U.S. consumers don't like discount groceries,” the presentation said.