Lidl CEO Talks Bumpy Start to U.S. Expansion

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Lidl CEO Talks Bumpy Start to U.S. Expansion

01/26/2018
A Lidl discount grocery location
"Teure fehlschlage" translates to "expensive failures" in English.

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. — The U.S. food retailing market gained one more player in the space with the entrance and expansion of German discount grocer Lidl. However, evidence has been mounting for some time that the company’s U.S. performance isn’t living up to expectations.

"Several things have gone wrong," Klaus Gehrig, CEO of the discounter’s parent company Schwarz-Group, said in an interview with the German business publication Manager for an article whole title translates to "Expensive Failures."

Among the shortcomings cited by the CEO are: poor site selection, locations too large and too expensive to operate, and a lack of insight into Americans' product preferences.

As a result of these factors, Gehrig told the magazine he expects only 20 stores to open in 2018, rather than the 100 originally planned, for a total of 68 U.S. stores. However, he remained hopeful that the chain would ultimately improve its business in the United States by "return[ing] to many of the old Lidl virtues which made us so successful."

The grocer has revealed plans to open its latest store in Fredericksburg, Va., on Feb. 15. It established its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County in 2015 and has three southeastern distribution centers.

To read more about Lidl, visit Convenience Store News sister publication Store Brands.

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