COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A major grocery chain dominating the European marketplace is planning a massive United States expansion, and South Carolina is very much on their radar for expansion.
LiDL (pronounced Lee-dle) is a German grocer that started over 40 years ago, and has progressively expanded to over 10,000 stores across Europe, with a positive response from customers across 26 countries.
Reports have likened LiDL to a cross between Walmart and Trader Joe's, the California-based grocery chain that's developed a nationwide fan base. The company's most direct competitor, also based in Germany, is the Aldi supermarket chain.
In found reports online, it appears the average planned store size will be around 35,000 square feet, near in size to the influx of Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery stores that have entered the area.
LiDL has plans for three Midlands stores, with these proposed locations:
- The intersection of Hardscrabble Road at Summit Parkway in Columbia
- The 5200 block of Sunset Blvd. in Lexington
- The 2500 block of North Road, near the Chestnut St. NE transition, in Orangeburg
Along with these locations, LiDL has Greenwood and Greenville on their radar.
With their goal to enter the Mid-Atlantic & southeastern markets by 2018, the company has already set up headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, in April of 2015, a regional distribution center in Fredericksburg, VA along with another distribution center in North Carolina, and quickly began pursuing store site locations across the region, from Philadelphia south through Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.
When we reached out for comment, company spokesman Will Harwood could only confirm that they're excited to be entering these South Carolina markets, and looking forward to having stores open by or before 2018.
In a February presentation to Richland County, an architectural design firm based in North Carolina, presented the first peek at plans for the Hardscrabble Rd. at Summit Parkway store location, and gave Council some details on the retailer.
David Powlen from Little Diversified Architectural Consulting told Council that LiDL will have produced locally sourced, and some products that are uniquely European, that you wouldn't find in local grocery stores. Additionally, like the Trader Joe's and Aldi stores that sell products under their own labels, LiDL will take the same tactic, in addition to stocking up on the regular brands you expect to see, and consumers can expect a different take on your typical neighborhood grocery store.
As expected, LiDL stores will also offer fresh bakery, produce, and meats, but unexpectedly,
Brendan Proctor, President and CEO of LiDL US said in a release: "Our philosophy is simple: we are focused on offering customers top quality products at the most competitive pricing in convenient locations. We plan to build on the foundation that has made LiDL so successful in Europe, while creating a unique experience for American consumers that will be unlike anything else in the market."
These stores will offer local shoppers a new grocery option for sure, but also drive the marketplace here, placing ever increasing pressure on longtime marketplace dominators Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Piggly-Wiggly, Publix, and Kroger along with Fresh Market and Trader Joe's. The company stores across Europe have had significant bottom line impact on UK supermarkets like Tesco and Morrisons, along with a number of others that have reported sales losses while LiDL stores have experienced gains.
LiDL posted $84 billion in sales from their European stores in 2015.