Discount transformation

Glasnost at Lidl

New Lidl supermarket with subway source subway
Lidl going up-scale? A Lidl-Subway crossover is one of the means supposed to bring an image change.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    As Aldi and Lidl have exhausted the spread of no-frills shops across Europe, future growth needs to come from luring in new customers, or expanding in the United States.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Lidl is one of the two leading no-frills discount supermarkets in Germany, with arch-rival Aldi leading the field.
    • The Lidl group runs 11,000 stores with 335,000 employees across Europe and is now eying the United States.
    • The chain wants to reposition itself as a higher-quality supermarket, revamping stores and starting a new ad campaign to this end.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Germany’s no-frills supermarket chain Lidl, a leader in the discount sector that this country has pioneered around the world, is preparing to revamp its shops – and turn its low-cost strategy on its head.

Lidl’s 3,300 stores in Germany are being overhauled this month. They will no longer be small and poky but larger stores of up to 1,300 square meters, or 14,000 square feet, that will be a good deal fancier, complete with professional photos of bread and meat worthy of a food magazine hanging on the walls.

This classier image is part of Lidl’s move to re-position itself from ultra-cheap discounter to a supermarket that’s all about higher quality – and higher prices.

The overhaul is also intended to pave the way for entry into the retail market in the United States. Aldi, Lidl’s German rival and the global leader in the discount space, has already set up shop there.

A new TV ad campaign and an online platform with information on food will support Lidl’s image overhaul, which could be described as a “discount 2.0 model.”

It is a huge step for a chain famous for low-cost groceries.

Discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi, which is also updating its image, have long been symbols of Germany’s post-war economic miracle, bringing cheap food to the masses and serving as a model for discount retailers around the world. In the United Kingdom, both chains are proving a serious challenge to Tesco, for example.

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