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Lidl to Enter U.S. This Summer

German hard-discounter chain Lidl is ready to open 20 stores this summer in the United States, with a total of 100 expected to be in operation by the end of 2017, The Washington Post reported.

The bump ahead in schedule – with the launch originally planned for next year – spells earlier pressure to other Mid-Atlantic food retailers, with the stores opening this summer planned for Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The 100 locations by year’s end will reside along the East Coast, the newspaper reported.

Basing its U.S. operations in Arlington Country, Va., Lidl has announced and/or broken ground on regional headquarters locations and distribution centers in such areas as Spotsylvania County, Va.; Alamance County, N.C.; and Cecil County, Md., various sources, including Progressive Grocer, have reported. The stores that the grocer plans to build in these areas are anticipated to span 30,000 to 36,000 square feet, roughly twice the size of a store from its European (and soon-to-be domestic) rival Aldi, while still smaller than a traditional grocery store.

The news came only a week after Reuters reported that that Lidl had replaced its CEO for the second time in less than two years, due to “unspecified differences over strategy.” It also arrived roughly the same amount of time after Germany-based Aldi revealed an “aggressive” $1.6 billion remodel and expansion plan for more than 1,300 of its U.S. stores by 2020, bringing to its stores a modern design, open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials.

Lidl already is expected to generate $8.8 billion in U.S. sales by 2023, Boston-based research firm Kantar Retail predicts. The grocer is anticipated to open 100 U.S. stores annually, reaching 630 locations by 2023. 

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