ARLINGTON, Va. -- Lidl, the German grocery retailer that made a grand entrance into the United States in June with a 36,000-square-foot discount prototype, is now considering significantly smaller sites—closer in size to convenience stores than its current model—for its continued expansion.
The discounter is now seeking leasing opportunities along the East Coast for existing properties as small as 15,000 square feet and as large as 25,000 square feet, according to criteria recently published on Lidl’s website, a company spokesperson confirmed for Winsight Grocery Business.
Lidl spokesperson Will Harwood characterized the move to a smaller box as a means to accelerate the chain’s expansion. Smaller sites would also allow Lidl to better penetrate dense urban markets, he said.
He also said the company would continue rolling out its 36,000-square-foot prototype “for the foreseeable future.” He acknowledged it is possible that some of the larger-store sites could see smaller boxes.
Harwood declined to identify any particular locations for a smaller store and declined to say what changes to assortments, design and layout could be in store for such units.
The move to a smaller box, Harwood said, is part of “constant evolution” that officials promised in the United States. “This is Lidl, everywhere we do business,” he said. “It’s about constant feedback and adaptation, not being beholden to any particular dogma, and open to change.”
The new strategy comes amid reports that indicate Lidl has delayed, dropped or may alter plans for multiple sites that were in planning stages—moves that some sources said reflected lackluster sales volumes and relatively high costs for the discounter, particularly in smaller towns where many of its early stores were located. The projects that have been held up came as part of a routine review, Harwood said.
Click here to read the full WGB report.