Lidl Supermarket

Europe’s largest grocer by revenue has been scoping out multiple potential locations in the Pittsburgh area to build its first U.S. stores, according to local sources.

Privately-held Schwarz Group’s LIDL discount supermarkets chain from Neckarsulm, Germany, surpassed ALDI, Walmart, Costco, Tesco, and other rivals in 2013 to be ranked first with over 11,000 stores throughout Europe worth $92 billion. In just one year, it added 3,000 stores, according to Planet Retail, which tracks the retail industry.

Managing Director of Lidl Ireland, Kenneth McGrath, and Kevin Proctor of Lidl’s executive board are just concluding a feasibility study on deciding on the best approach for market entry into the U.S.

Supermarket News reported that depending on the study, “Lidl could establish as many as 100 stores in East Coast and Mid-Atlantic cities in 2015” to test their concepts with “up to 500 stores in the U.S. by 2018.” That’s when Klaus Gehrig, Schwarz Group’s chief executive, said they’ll officially begin full roll-out

“LIDL is, at this moment, the most successful formula in the Netherlands. Cheap, high quality and a small amount of products,” Hans Konstapel, a Netherlands consultant told NEXT.

“LIDL is regarded to be marginally better than ALDI. Both are disruptive discounters with a continuous “best buy” score from consumer panels provided you can live with non A-brand product. Considering the price difference, many European customers opt for LIDL first and the rest at the regular supermarket,” added Wilfried Rijsemus, another consultant from the Netherlands.

LIDL says it is specifically looking at the East Coast. The U.S. stores are expected to be similar to those of its European rival ALDI, with discount prices but limited selection of about 1,800 items. By comparison, Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh’s largest grocery chain stocks its average store with over 38,000 items. ALDI stocks about 1,200 items in each of its 1,300 U.S. locations.

LIDL typically carries more fresh quality produce, premium meats, dairy, and luxury baked goods all purchased from local suppliers than its other discount competitors.

Frank Sowa

Strategy consultant, writer, business and tech researcher and entrepreneur