June 6, 2017

Heidi Klum gives Lidl USA a feminine touch

Heid Klum (photo: Lidl USA)
Heidi Klum
Not to be outdone by fellow discounter Aldi and Jette Joop, the US subsidiary of Lidl has joined forces with German supermodel Heidi Klum in a new fashion campaign. Lidl US announced today its first ever collaboration with the international fashion icon and designer. Heidi's new collection, which mirrors her characteristic style, will be available exclusively at Lidl and will launch across its network of stores later this year.

With her vast expertise and success in the fashion industry, Heidi Klum has carefully designed a high-end, yet affordable fashion collection for Lidl, making the range accessible for everyone. Lidl's customers across Europe and the USA can look forward to seeing Heidi's exclusive collection launch later this year.

Klum commented: "Lidl is known for making quality products at affordable prices, and I'm proud to partner with them on this fashion collaboration. I had so much fun designing the pieces in this collection and can't wait for you to see it." Well, neither can we, Heidi...

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Speaking about the new collaboration, Boudewijn Tiktak, Lidl US Chief Commercial Officer, added: "We are incredibly enthusiastic to work with Heidi Klum. She has designed a collection that truly reflects her experience as a trendsetter, and she put as much love in designing this collection as we do in all our products. At Lidl, we believe high-quality fashion should be attainable for everyone, and we look forward to sharing this collection with our customers later this year."

Lidl also says that it is excited to provide its customers with high-quality fashion at affordable prices through its 'Lidl Fashion Weeks', which will feature collections in its stores at certain times throughout the year.

Recruiting super-blonde Heidi Klum, previously married to pop singer Seal, is a savvy move by the discounter. The 44-year-old, with dual German and US citizenship, is a smart businesswoman. Just one of the lady's media successes is the long-running casting show and reality series 'Germany's Next Topmodel' on local TV station ProSieben. Therefore her new collection is likely to appeal primarily to young girls in the 17 to 25 age range.

True to form, low-profile Lidl gives no details as to the number of lines in the collection or the exact price range. This is, however, a significant development for a company who still officially defines its offer as "the highest quality fresh produce, meat, bakery items and a wide array of household products at the lowest possible prices", but one who has been upping its fashion credentials over the last few years.

Ambitious expansion plans

After years of preparation, Lidl will open its first nine stores in North and South Carolina as well as Virginia next Thursday. Around 100 stores averaging around 20,000ft² (1,858m²) will follow on the East Coast by next summer.

Lidl US store exterior
Lidl US store exterior
Lidl first established its US headquarters in Arlington County/Virginia in June 2015. Since then, it has announced regional headquarters and distribution centers in Spotsylvania County/Virginia, Alamance County/North Carolina and Cecil County/Maryland. Although the company website is looking for stores from New Jersey to Georgia, US sources report store purchases as far away as North Texas and Ohio.

The sheer geographical range of the store base tallies well with the plans of parent company Schwarz Group to earmark €1bn ($1.2bn) of its current €7bn ($7.9bn) annual capex for expansion in the States. In nearly all cases the stores will be bought outright, thus complementing Lidl's huge international real estate portfolio.

Real estate challenges

US sources have noted a lack of sophistication in real estate dealings on the East Coast, leading some to make invidious comparisons with Tesco's failed US concept, Fresh & Easy.

If true, this is indeed surprising as Lidl, with around 10,000 stores in 27 countries throughout Europe, has tremendous international experience in finding and buying sites and is generally seen as a very professional operator in European real estate circles. Presumably, the high store density in the South-East of the US has left the discounter with less choice than it would ideally have wished and has obliged it to make compromises.

But, if the concept is right and appeals to local customers, no amount of teething problems on sites are likely to stop one of the world's largest retailers from carving a big niche for itself in good old USA.


Related articles in German: "Lidl inszeniert mit Heidi Klum US-Start"
by Annette C. Müller on page 10 of Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 23, 09.06.2016; Also "Lidl setzt auf Mode von Heidi Klum" in LZnet


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