June 13, 2013

Lidl goes USA

Klaus Gehrig, Schwarz Group (photo: Lidl)
Schwarz Group boss Klaus Gehrig: "We will start in the USA, the timing is right" (photo: Lidl)
Admittedly a little later than Columbus, but it’s never wise to underestimate a Swabian. German discounter Lidl is preparing to conquer the USA.

If all goes to plan, its first 100 stores could be opened on the heavily-populated East Coast in 2015 as part of an estimated €500m initial investment.

A four-member team, headed by Ireland country manager Kenneth McGrath (37) and colleague Kevin Proctor (40), is already sounding the market. It is also searching for suitable store, DC, and head-office sites.

Clearly Lidl is looking for a strategic alternative to Europe, where it has businesses in 25 countries outside Germany but doesn’t see major growth potential.

The no-frills retailer’s expansion plans on the continent are relatively modest. Only entries into Serbia and Lithuania, two relatively small countries, are still on the books for next year.

Aldi USA in turbo drive

Presumably, the euro crisis will have played a role in the discounter’s decision to swim the Pond although France, Spain and Italy, which have been hard hit in the recession, generate particularly good revenues for the company.

Doubtless the steady growth of Aldi in the USA since 1976 (cf. interactive chart below) will also have influenced Lidl's expansion plans. In fact, the arch-rival's 1,250 hard discount viz. limited assortment grocery stores in the US have gone into overdrive since the beginning of the financial crisis with double-digit annual sales increases.

Lidl already makes more than two-thirds of its net revenues outside its mature German home market and is keen to internationalise its value channel concept further.

Top management has also been exploring chances in Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Asia, but clearly prefers the US as a business destination for reasons of legal security and political stability.

America reloaded

This isn’t the first time that the multiple has eyed North America. It took a serious look at the States six years ago, and there was talk of entry for 2012. But Klaus Gehrig, CEO of parent company Schwarz Group, called these off at the time as he felt that Lidl still needed to consolidate its position in Europe.

With plans to push through the €70bn-annual-revenues-mark this year, Schwarz Group obviously now feels strong enough to take the plunge. After years of rapid expansion, followed by a phase of consolidation, there are apparently no major loss-making countries in its international portfolio anymore.

The retail giant wants to complete all larger investment projects, including a store modernisation programme in northern Germany, before the start in America.

Thus, it will not be necessary to increase current annual capex of €3bn. The group feels that it is strong enough even to take three-digit million losses, if necessary, during the initial investment phase.

Big Boy in Germany

Neckarsulm-based Schwarz-Gruppe, which includes a manufacturing division, posted revenues of €67.6bn for 2012/13 making it Germany's largest retailer.

The group has two retail arms. The larger one runs 9,850 “Lidl” hard discount stores in Europe with net revenues of €48.9bn as per the business year to the end of February 2013. A third of these (3,300) are situated in Germany, where annual revenues are €15.8bn, or an estimated €4.8m per outlet.

Lidl’s discount superstore sister operates 1,100 “Kaufland” branches in Europe with revenues of €18.7bn. Over half of these (630) are in Germany where the company made €12.5bn, or an estimated €20m per store.

According to TradeDimensions, Schwarz-Gruppe ranks number four in German food retailing after Edeka Group, Rewe Group and Metro Group. With an estimated market share of 12.7 per cent it has pushed rival Aldi firmly into fifth place (10.9 per cent) -- surely no mean achievement by anyone’s standards.

Like the Roman empire, Schwarz Group wasn’t built in a day. But give the Swabians time and, clearly, anything is possible.

N.B. Readers are recommended to view an interactive map, compiled by online editor Marco Kitzmann, showing the store networks of Aldi South (hard discount stores) and Aldi North (Trader Joe's) in the USA.

Podcast microphone (photo: Gerhard Seybert-Fotolia)
(photo: Gerhard Seybert-Fotolia)

Podcast. Click arrow to listen to an audio version of the text:

Lebensmittel Zeitung print and digital (photo: LZ)
Our German B2B newspaper, Lebensmittel Zeitung, in print & digital
Read in German: by Jan Mende, Christiane Ronke & Angela Wisken in Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 24, 14.06.2013 

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Comments for this article are closed.

  1. Tina
    Created 15 June, 2013 19:43 | Permanent link

    This is great. We need a store in Killeen or Copperas Cove, Texas, close to Fort Hood, the biggest military base in the world.

  2. Jim
    Created 22 June, 2013 14:26 | Permanent link

    Yeah...the best news I've heard since we live in the USA... :-)

  3. Carol
    Created 8 September, 2013 18:14 | Permanent link

    I'm happy to see this! Just got back from a month in Germany, and I'm happy to see I'll be able to shop Lidl here at home, too! Hope you'll be near me in Ohio!

  4. Caroline
    Created 9 September, 2013 13:59 | Permanent link

    Ooh, I hope they decide to come to Concord, New Hampshire, and bring that delicious refrigerated herring I have only been able to get in the UK!

  5. John
    Created 1 October, 2013 18:34 | Permanent link

    Need Mr. Choc chocolate spread. Can't find it in the States. Come quick!

  6. Andrea
    Created 12 October, 2013 18:29 | Permanent link

    Great news. Hurry up and bring some real coffee to this country. Living on the East Coast gave me the opportunity to buy at Aldi's, but it is more for the American market. Hope Lidl brings more German stuff on a regular basis and not only at Christmas time. Come real quick!!!

  7. Terrie
    Created 28 November, 2013 15:53 | Permanent link

    Minneapolis needs a Lidl. Aldi has many stores but not enough German food. Many Germans live here and when Aldi has German food, it is sold out very fast. We do need a Lidl here.

  8. Denise Frame
    Created 5 December, 2013 02:35 | Permanent link

    We also need Lidl in the Atlanta area!!!
    Please hurry!

  9. Lydia Bryant
    Created 12 December, 2013 13:35 | Permanent link

    It would be great if they would come to Jacksonville/Florida, there are many Germans here.

    (Wäre schön wenn sie sich in Jacksonville/Florida niederlassen würden, es gibt viele Deutsche hier.)

  10. Ulla
    Created 12 December, 2013 13:52 | Permanent link

    We need Lidl all over. Just like they are in Germany, that's where my sister shops and all her neighbors. And the fresh baked goods...hurry up to Texas!

  11. Susi
    Created 12 December, 2013 14:36 | Permanent link

    I second, we need a Lidl in the Killeen / Ft. Hood TX area. We have a huge German community, and we are surely the biggest military base in the world… win-win situation for both Lidl and the customers.

  12. Kerstin Madden
    Created 12 December, 2013 14:43 | Permanent link

    Yes, please come to Texas Killeen, Copperas Cove area our German population is very big here! Oh, and don't just sell American stuff, give us a lot of German stuff too! Aldi is suck at this!!!

  13. susi
    Created 12 December, 2013 14:49 | Permanent link

    And what are they planning on selling? Love Trader Joe's, but only one in my State. Loved the European Aldi, the US version is not that great in my opinion, only go there for the chocolates. If Lidl does indeed come, I really do hope they bring more European goodies, but in a way I almost doubt it, some of the stuff might not appeal to Americans.

  14. Jey
    Created 12 December, 2013 15:00 | Permanent link

    We could really use one in the Ft. Hood, Texas area (Killeen, Copperas cove, Harker heights). Lots of Germans in the area!

  15. Dana
    Created 12 December, 2013 15:11 | Permanent link

    Need one near Bowie MD!!!!

  16. Dragana
    Created 12 December, 2013 15:31 | Permanent link

    I love Lidl. Please come to Killeen/Harker Heights/Copperas Cove, TX. We have a huge German community here. Please, please, please!

  17. Petra Atherley
    Created 12 December, 2013 15:56 | Permanent link

    We could use one in the Black Hills of SD. Rapid City has a lot of Germans living here, plus Ellsowrth AFB is out there. We really could use something else beyond Walmart, Safeway & Family Dollar out here. It would be great and hopefully we would get some more German food as well.

  18. Ruth Shoaf
    Created 12 December, 2013 16:49 | Permanent link

    We are going to be happy, we have thousands of Germans here. Hope we will see you soon.

  19. Bettina Thomas
    Created 12 December, 2013 20:44 | Permanent link

    Oh, please, please, please bring a Lidl to the Fort Hood area... We have so many Germans here. Believe your business would boom, and I am almost willing to bet it would outsell Aldi which is 30 minutes away. Another good selling point would be lots of German grocery items that would definitely give Aldi a run for their money :-)

  20. Gabriele
    Created 12 December, 2013 20:45 | Permanent link

    We definitely need something new and different in the Killeen, TX area. Please consider us as a potential location!

  21. Daryl
    Created 13 December, 2013 06:45 | Permanent link

    And Seattle/Redmond PLEASE!!!!!!

  22. Claudia McShane
    Created 13 December, 2013 08:01 | Permanent link

    We desperately need a Lidl in San Antonio/Texas. A lot of Germans live here who are anxious to be able to buy German coffee and other specialties at an affordable price.

  23. Irmgard
    Created 13 December, 2013 08:08 | Permanent link

    Would love to have a Lidl in Florida with lots of German Food.

  24. Karin
    Created 13 December, 2013 13:31 | Permanent link

    We definitely need a Lidl AND an Aldi store in the Savannah area!

  25. anja
    Created 13 December, 2013 18:06 | Permanent link

    We need a Lidl and an Aldi in Panama City, Florida

  26. Gabriele
    Created 14 December, 2013 05:44 | Permanent link

    When in Germany I always shop at Lidl. It would be great if Lidl could open a couple stores in San Antonio, TX. There is a large German population here and we are all familiar with your store. It would definitely a plus if Lidl would sell a lot of German products. There is no Aldi in San Antonio, the nearest one is in Temple, TX a 2 1/2 hr drive one way.

  27. Jens-Uwe Dethlefsen
    Created 14 December, 2013 23:55 | Permanent link

    Lidl in Colorado Springs/Colorado would be great...why?

    Trader Joe's refused to come to our city, Aldi is only on the east coast to Midwest.

    We have a great location available here on a very busy City street (if interested, I will send you a picture with the real estate facts...the place is approx. 115,000ft², has all the refrigeration and freezer facilities inside, loading dog and very large parking space in the front of the store...facing the main street).

    This location has so much space that the store could be converted to make an additional regional distribution center of Lidl.

    Colorado Springs has a total of five military installations with about 35,000 soldiers, and the city has approx. 530,000 citizens. Everybody loves Trader Joe's in denver and 80% of the military were in Germany!

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  28. Ben
    Created 16 December, 2013 20:34 | Permanent link

    Hope they spread further west than Aldi -- would love to have a Lidl in Utah, as I loved ours in the UK.

  29. Anita Mullenix
    Created 8 January, 2014 22:15 | Permanent link

    Please come to Arizona, we have a large percentage of Germans here. We need a German store in the west too. Aldi didn't do it, can you do it please?

  30. Eddy
    Created 12 February, 2014 04:05 | Permanent link

    I hope you also consider expanding to the West coast, there would not be the competition of Aldi next door too, and we really urgently need a good supermarket like yours. Please don't forget Seattle when expanding into the US and the remainder of the West Coast. There are also highly populated areas with low income that would really flock to the stores. We know from Germany that Lidl has great quality and competitive prices. Lidl could take over the food market in our area pretty easily, nothing compares price-wise at all.

  31. Esperanza Pretus
    Created 21 February, 2014 13:16 | Permanent link

    We need a Lidl in Miami, Florida. My favorite store when I lived in Europe. Go Germans, go. We are ready for some intelligent people. We need new European brains.

  32. Christa
    Created 16 March, 2014 16:28 | Permanent link

    I live in Buffalo, New York State. We have several Aldis here, but they only carry German groceries a few times a year, like during the Oktoberfest Season, etc.
    It would be wonderful to have a Lidl!

  33. Christine
    Created 17 March, 2014 17:27 | Permanent link

    I would love Lidl to come to Wilmington nc. That would be nice.

  34. PJ
    Created 8 April, 2014 15:53 | Permanent link

    Come to HUNTSVILLE, AL!!!!

    Please come to HUNTSVILLE, AL. There are 3 ALDIs here already and we are getting tired of them. We need LIDL to add some flavour!!! There is a huge German population and the Military!!! Everyone is looking forward to see LIDL in Huntsville, AL.

  35. Lidl Fan
    Created 8 April, 2014 16:02 | Permanent link

    Keep Aldi on their toes!!!

    Aldi needs someone to keep them on their toes here in Huntsville, AL.

  36. Nicole
    Created 1 May, 2014 21:21 | Permanent link

    German Grocery stores in the USA

    It would be great to get another store from Germany. But it would be even greater if groceries from Germany would be available. As some of the comments show above, we have a hard time finding German groceries at an affordable price here in the US. I am certain that whoever does this would add much business.

  37. Pamela Polledri
    Created 18 May, 2014 17:18 | Permanent link

    Opening in the USA - Make it Southlake, Texas first!

    I have spent 44 years in Bristol in England, but now live in Southlake/Texas. This area cries out for something different. Aldi is making a big push, but as in Bristol, I know Lidl and Aldi are competitors, and I believe Southlake could absorb the competition. Make sure you have a bakery, that is fast & fresh! Remember it's all about the next meal in the USA! Wish Marks & Spencer's convenience concept "M&S Food" would open here too!

  38. Maria
    Created 20 May, 2014 15:09 | Permanent link

    We need a Lidl in the Virginia Beach area! Lots of Germans in this community!!
    Thanks!!! :-)

  39. Marie
    Created 24 May, 2014 05:39 | Permanent link

    Texas is good for low business taxes… and AldI is already here and doing well...

  40. Jessica
    Created 9 August, 2014 15:50 | Permanent link

    Really hope Lidl is coming to the USA! Oregon and North Carolina could really use one… :-)

  41. Dan
    Created 16 September, 2014 14:43 | Permanent link

    You want lots of German customers? Come to Charlotte, NC

    I vote for Charlotte, NC. Over 200 German companies in the Mecklenburg Country region. Heck, the county name itself is German. Aldi's already here, but I wouldn't mind having another German grocery option with hopefully some more treats from my home country.

  42. Gabi
    Created 23 September, 2014 19:32 | Permanent link

    We need one in Albuquerque New Mexico.

  43. Cordula Claxton
    Created 6 October, 2014 02:19 | Permanent link

    We need one in Kentucky, there are a lot Germans life here. We only can buy German food in Aldi. Aldi have German candy, but that is about it :( Bring some German food into the country and good luck Lidl!

  44. Tanja H
    Created 17 November, 2014 03:25 | Permanent link


    And with the huge Volkswagen plant and Wacker Chemie AG here in Chattanooga, TN we need a Lidl store as well...lots of Germans here in Chattanooga.

    We have three Aldi stores here and they are always full, and people love Aldi...surely they will love Lidl as well!

  45. Linda
    Created 29 November, 2014 02:48 | Permanent link

    I am excited having shopped this store in Germany!

  46. J Manning
    Created 27 December, 2014 21:20 | Permanent link

    We are waiting for European Lidl to come to Oakland County....

    Please, please, please come to Michigan...!

  47. Regina Shelby
    Created 30 December, 2014 13:37 | Permanent link



  48. Cinderella Lattin
    Created 30 December, 2014 14:45 | Permanent link

    I hope they open one in Waco/Texas. Aldi is great, but I hope Lidl will have more German products than Aldi. There are lots of Germans around here as well, and I'm sure I'm not the only one hunting for good ole German food items that are very hard to find here.

  49. Annette
    Created 30 December, 2014 16:32 | Permanent link

    How about Augusta, GA!!!

  50. Rosa Welmon
    Created 30 December, 2014 17:21 | Permanent link

    We need one in Colorado Springs because the German store we have got is crazy with their prices, so we would like one. Lots of Germans here call us "little Germany".

  51. Helga Diaz
    Created 30 December, 2014 18:46 | Permanent link


    Yes Texas , but in El Paso. We have a large german community plus New Mexico and Mexico are on our border here so it would be a great location. Plus we don't have Aldi here.

  52. Monika McCollough
    Created 30 December, 2014 20:13 | Permanent link

    We need one in Tallahassee Florida the only Aldi near by is 3 hours away..

  53. Elke Baker
    Created 31 December, 2014 20:26 | Permanent link


    Killeen , TX would be the place to be.

  54. Joe Blow
    Created 1 January, 2015 21:43 | Permanent link

    Most of the German crap everyone keeps talking about only sells well a few times a years. That is why it is not carried all year long.

  55. Gabriele Bolds
    Created 4 January, 2015 04:11 | Permanent link

    Colorado Springs most definitely needs a Lidl due to so many military bases and Germans here. We would love to see a Lidl here! That store would boom!

  56. Robert Wong
    Created 20 January, 2015 10:08 | Permanent link

    Have not seen Lidl in China yet, but started to hear of them about five years ago. Hope to see them come to China one day.

  57. cujokay
    Created 14 February, 2015 21:00 | Permanent link

    Lidl Stores

    Hope they come to Ohio.

  58. Roberta
    Created 3 March, 2015 16:22 | Permanent link

    North-Eastern Wisconsin, USA

    This is fun news! Be certain to include the State of Wisconsin in your plans, especially the north-eastern areas in either the cities of Appleton or Green Bay. There is a huge German, Dutch and Polish presence in this area who would love to help your sales and welcome your stores!!

  59. Luis
    Created 28 April, 2015 22:37 | Permanent link

    Hurry up to Sarasota/Fl!

    Please, hurry up and come to Sarasota, Fl. We have been busy shopping at Aldis, but we need a store that can bring us good German food and other articles, and we know you can provide this to all the Germans here, and also many who remember you when they were in Germany. Hurry, hurry!!

  60. Ryan
    Created 5 June, 2015 05:53 | Permanent link

    Porsche HQ in Atlanta

    Come to Atlanta...It is the Porsche headquarters...and they need to eat. lol.

  61. D D Franklin
    Created 13 June, 2015 19:21 | Permanent link


    We need a Lidl in Hollywood/FL. Please real soon!

  62. Monika Rich
    Created 15 June, 2015 15:59 | Permanent link

    German stores in the US

    We really could use one here in the Northwest area. We have so, so many Germans here. We have a German town named Leavenworth, but even they don't even sell all the German foods. So please bring some German stores to the Seattle Tacoma area. Lots of military people with German wives, plus all the retired military.

  63. David the Bavarian
    Created 5 September, 2015 04:11 | Permanent link

    Please Carry a Lot of German Brands

    Having Aldi and now Lidl in the US is great (and they are both going to push to be nationwide), but, as many have mentioned, it would be awesome to actually carry a lot of German brand items. That will be the kicker for me to shop there regularly because, if it stocks mostly US food items, I would not travel past other grocery stores to get there.

    It also sounds like Lidl is planning bigger stores than the Aldi locations so pleeeease have a nice size German brand/food selection :)

  64. Margot Eakle
    Created 26 September, 2015 03:51 | Permanent link

    We need our German food and Aldi is not able to

    We need you in West Virginia. Please, please. We have Aldi but never get anything we want.

  65. Gabriele B.
    Created 3 October, 2015 20:34 | Permanent link

    We need a Lidl in Colorado Springs, Co! A lot of Germans live here and would be so happy! You would do great $$$,$$$! Business Space no problem around Colorado Springs! I am German and used to love to shop at Lidl when living in Germany! My favored store!

  66. Angelika
    Created 28 October, 2015 17:28 | Permanent link

    Welcome to Colorado Springs

    Yes, we need a store in Colorado Springs. Herzlich willkommen!

  67. Doris Eck
    Created 17 December, 2015 03:31 | Permanent link

    Lidl for me!

    My dreams are coming true!! Lidl in America. You have got to get here soon! This Berlin-German gurrl needs her fixxxxxx.. I really hope you have the entire US in mind when laying ground here. The East Coast has Aldi. I believe it is the Aldi Süd chain. I live in NJ and need my Lidl. NOW! I promise I will be your biggest customer :-)

  68. Kat
    Created 3 February, 2016 17:41 | Permanent link


    Need a Lidl and/or Aldi in Victoria, TX!!!!

  69. Daniela
    Created 22 March, 2016 12:53 | Permanent link

    NE Arkansas

    I hope you bring one to NE Arkansas or SE Missouri as we have a lot of Germans waiting for you...

  70. Tim p
    Created 8 September, 2016 08:51 | Permanent link

    Lidl goes USA

    I see nothing about California. Aldi is taking off here, why not Lidl?

  71. klaus maitag
    Created 13 October, 2016 22:16 | Permanent link

    Not enough German products

    Aldi has not enough GERMAN food. I see more MEXICAN foods on the shelves than GERMAN. So, please hurry up and get here. THANKS.

  72. Jeanette Steinbusch
    Created 24 February, 2017 19:42 | Permanent link

    We need Lidl in San Antonio, Texas

    Please consider opening stores in San Antonio, Texas. There is a huge demand for your stores, and we have been begging Aldi to open stores in San Antonio, Texas with no success. You would have thousands of customers filling your stores on a daily basis in San Antonio. San Antonio is a military city, and many people are already familiar with Lidl from their time spent living abroad. We would welcome your store with open arms!

  73. Jim Higgins
    Created 20 May, 2017 19:30 | Permanent link

    Making Foreigners Rich

    That's right, let's spend our American money making more foreigners rich. If they offer products you can't find elsewhere that you want, great. But if it is just over money. The savings can't be significant, and if it seems significant to you, then you need to find another job.

    Support America and the companies that are here and the citizens that are here. Publix is an American-based employee owned company. They are the best.

  74. Luis Rexach
    Created 8 March, 2018 02:36 | Permanent link

    Bring Lidl to Sarasota/Florida, PLEASE!!!

    I would love to see Lidl in Sarasota/Florida. I spent years in Germany and know how good products they carry in their stores. I will even help by gathering a welcome party for you. Please bring it in!

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