First discount store opened *1973; 45 years ago (1973)
Number of locations
10,000+ in 28 European countries and the United States
Jesper Højer (CEO)
Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG
Number of employees
European countries in which
Lidl is active
Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG (German pronunciation: [ˈliːdl̩]; UK:
/ˈlɪdəl/ LID-əl), formerly Schwarz Unternehmenstreuhand KG, is a
German global discount supermarket chain, based in Neckarsulm,
Germany, that operates over 10,000 stores across
Europe and USA.
It belongs to Dieter Schwarz, who also owns the store chains
Handelshof and hypermarket Kaufland.
Lidl is the chief competitor of the similar German discount chain Aldi
in several markets, including USA. There are
Lidl stores in every
member state of the European Union, except
Latvia and Estonia.
3 Other services
4 Approach to retailing
5 Reflective inquiry
6 Number of stores
9 External links
In 1930, Josef Schwarz became a partner in Südfrüchte Großhandel
Lidl & Co., a fruit wholesaler, and he developed the company into
a general food wholesaler. As a result of the war, the company was
destroyed in 1944, and a 10-year reconstruction period soon
In 1977, under his son Dieter Schwarz, the Schwarz-Gruppe began to
focus on discount markets, larger supermarkets, and cash and carry
wholesale markets. He did not want to use the name Schwarz-Markt
(Schwarzmarkt means "black market") and rather use the name of Josef
Schwarz's former business partner, A. Lidl, but legal reasons
prevented him from taking over the name for his discount stores. When
he discovered a newspaper article about the painter and retired
schoolteacher Ludwig Lidl, he bought the rights to the name from him
for 1,000 German marks.
Lidl is part of the Schwarz Group, the fifth-largest retailer in the
world with sales of $82.4 billion (2011).
Lidl discount store was opened in 1973, copying the Aldi
concept. Schwarz rigorously removed merchandise that did not sell
from the shelves, and cut costs by keeping the size of the retail
outlets as small as possible. By 1977, the
Lidl chain comprised 33
Lidl opened its first UK store in 1994 and grew rapidly during the
first decade of the 21st century. Since then,
Lidl has grown
consistently, and today has over 650 stores. While it is still a small
player in the United Kingdom, with a grocery market share of less than
5%, its importance, along with that of continental, no frills
Aldi is growing, with half of shoppers in the United
Lidl over Christmas.
Sven Seidel was appointed CEO of the company in March 2014, after the
previous CEO Karl-Heinz Holland stepped down. Holland had served as
chief executive since 2008 but left due to undisclosed "unbridgeable"
differences over future strategy. Seidel stepped down from his
position in February 2017 after Manager Magazin reported he had fallen
out of favour with Klaus Gehrig, who has headed the Schwarz Group
since 2004. Seidel was succeeded as CEO by Dane Jesper Højer,
previously head of Lidl's international buying operation.
In June 2015, the company announced it would establish a United States
headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
Lidl has a major distribution
center in Mebane, North Carolina. The first twenty stores in the
United States were opened in the summer of 2017, throughout Virginia,
North Carolina, and South Carolina, with a predicted total of one
hundred stores by the end of 2017.
Lidl is focusing on
locations in East Coast states, between
Pennsylvania and Georgia,
and as far west as Ohio.
In 2008, German newspaper Stern uncovered
Lidl spying on its staff,
including registration of employees' toilet visits as well as personal
details regarding employees' love lives, personal finances, menstrual
cycles and so on.
Lidl was forced to issue an official apology because a Lidl
Sweden deliberately poisoned homeless people by poisoning
food in trash containers.
Lidl police headquarters case – an alleged covert attempt
to extort bribes from Lidl, became a massive scandal in Lithuania.
In 2016, poisonous xylene was discovered in a gravy sold by Lidl
In 2017, all of Lithuania's major newspapers reported that Lidl
Lithuania, compared to other
Lidl markets, sets higher prices on
identical products despite lower expenses including rent, salaries,
In 2017, Italian police arrested 15 people from 4 of Lidl's offices
during investigation into ties with Laudani crime family.
In 2017 it was discovered that
Lidl removed crosses from pictures of
churches on the Greek island
Santorini used on packaging for its
Eridanous line of products.
Lidl acknowledged it made a mistake and
promised to deal with the issue.
Lidl was involved in another controversy related to crosses
on churches. Its branch in Camporosso, Italy, was using a picture of
the church of Dolceacqua, Italy, for promotional purposes. The cross
was removed from the picture of the church.
In October 2009,
Lidl Movies was launched in the United Kingdom,
Tesco DVD Rental, which had previously been the United
Kingdom's cheapest online rental service for DVDs. The service was
powered by OutNow DVD Rental. OutNow went into liquidation in October
Lidl Movies with it.
In January 2012,
Lidl launched bakeries in their stores across Europe.
They consist of a small baking area with a number of ovens, together
with an area where bread and pastries, such as croissants, are
displayed for sale.
In August 2013,
Lidl UK also launched an online photo service, which
prints photos and photo gifts at discounted prices.
Approach to retailing
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Like fellow German supermarket Aldi,
Lidl has a zero waste, no-frills,
pass the savings to the consumer approach of displaying most products
in their original delivery cartons, allowing the customers to take the
product directly from the carton. When the carton is empty, it is
simply replaced with a full one. Staffing is minimal.
In contrast to Aldi, there are generally more branded products on
offer and while
Lidl imports many low-priced gourmet foods from
Europe, it also sources many local products from the country where the
store is located. Like Aldi,
Lidl has special weekly offers, and its
stock of non-food items often changes with time. In contrast to Aldi,
Lidl advertises extensively in its homeland of Germany.
Lidl operation in the
United Kingdom took a different approach
than the head office, with focus on marketing and public relations,
and providing employee benefits not required by law, including paying
the independently verified living wage and offering a staff
Upmarket products were introduced, especially in the lead-up to
Christmas. This required significant investment in marketing to
produce dramatic sales growth but had an effect on Lidl’s logistical
operation and pressure on profits. Ronny Gottschlich, who ran the
store chain in the
United Kingdom for the six years to 2016, was
responsible for this approach. This led to friction with head office,
due to the cost involved, and in September 2016, Gottschlich
unexpectedly left and was replaced by the Austrian sales and
operations director, German-national Christian Härtnagel. Lidl
continued to have ambitious investment plans in the United Kingdom,
potentially ultimately doubling the number of stores to 1,500. In the
financial year of 2015,
Lidl Great Britain's revenue from its stores
of over 630 throughout Britain was £4.7 billion.
Trade unions in
Germany and other countries have maintained their
position over time on
Lidl handling workers and Lidl's stance away
European directives on working time, and other criticisms. These
viewpoints have been published in the Black Book on the Schwarz Retail
Company published in
Germany and now also available in English.
The Times notes that
Lidl managers work overtime hours and are
directed to sign out of the
Working Time Directive when starting with
the company, while
The Guardian reported other allegations in the
United Kingdom and abroad. Similar to quality control cameras in many
US grocery markets, hidden cameras have been found in one store in
Wasbek, north Germany, to monitor its workforce and make notes on
employee behaviour, focusing on attempting to sack female workers who
might become pregnant or to force staff at warehouses to do
In July 2003, a judge in Savona, Italy, sentenced
Lidl for opposition
to union policies, a crime in Italy.
Lidl has been criticised in
United Kingdom and Ireland for not allowing workers to join
unions. This prompted a campaign by
Labour Youth which ultimately led
to former National Recruitment Officer and Acting Chairperson of the
organisation, Darren Bates, resigning due to a lack of support for
businesses which create jobs.
In November 2014,
Lidl UK staff were instructed not to speak any
language other than English, not even Welsh (a language used in
Wales), with Lidl's customers.
The Welsh Language Society
The Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas
yr Iaith) said the policy was "appalling". Cymdeithas yr Iaith's
chairman, Jamie Bevan, said that "since the
Welsh language bill was
passed four years ago, it is illegal to stop staff from speaking to
customers in Welsh".
Number of stores
Number of stores
Lidl store in Angers, France
Lidl store in Santorini, Greece
Lidl store in a former railway station. Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Lidl store in Karlstad, Sweden
Lidl store in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Lidl store in Greenville, South Carolina, USA
Lidl store in Templemore, County Tipperary, Ireland
Opening weekend at
Lidl in Vilnius, Lithuania
Lidl store in the world, located in Sodankylä,
Lidl store in Zaprešić, Croatia
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Retrieved 19 September 2017.
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Lidl airbrushes crosses from
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wieder Kirchenkreuze auf Verpackungen zeigen". Retrieved 7 January
2018 – via www.welt.de.
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^ "'English only' rule at
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Poslovni dnevnik (in Croatian). 29 May 2017.
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Lidl Increases Sales By 7.8% In Spanish Market, Following €1bn
^ "Medarbetare -
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^ "Pressmeddelande -
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^ "A propos de
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^ "About Us". lidl.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
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The company’s official US website
The company’s official UK website
Lidl & Schwarz Stiftung & Co. KG Company Profile
Supermarkets in Bulgaria
(Number of stores in brackets, as of March 2017)
(Total number of stores in brackets)
Supermarket chains in Denmark
Supermarket chains in France
Le Relais des Mousquetaires
Louis Delhaize Group
Other (incl. independent)
Docks de France
Tesco Vin Plus
Sainsbury's Calais Wine Store
Supermarkets in Germany
Netto Marken-Discount (EDEKA)
Kaufland (Schwarz Gruppe)
REWE Group, wholesale)
CAP (EDEKA/social enterprise)
HL Deutscher Supermarkt
Supermarkets in Greece
SYN.KA Super Markets
Supermarkets in Ireland
Marks & Spencer
Supermarkets in Poland
Piotr i Paweł
Cash and carry
Supermarkets in Sweden
MAXI ICA Stormarknad
Supermarket chains in the Netherlands
Simon de Wit
Super de Boer
Supermarkets in the United Kingdom
The Co-operative Food
Jones Convenience Stores
B & M
Marks & Spencer
Whole Foods Market
Shoprite (Isle of Man)
Supermarket chains in the United States
Food 4 Less
Pick 'n Save
Shaw's and Star Market
Shop 'n Save
Stop & Shop
Fresco y Más
The Fresh Grocer
Other national chains
Hong Kong Supermarket
Island Pacific Supermarket
Marukai Corporation U.S.A.
Shun Fat Supermarket
99 Ranch Market
El Ahorro Supermarket
La Perla Tapatía Supermarkets
Mi Pueblo Food Center
Cash & Carry
Acme Fresh Market
Boyer's Food Markets, Inc.
Brookshire Grocery Company
Buehler Food Markets Inc.
D&W Fresh Market
Dean & DeLuca
DeMoulas Market Basket
Dorothy Lane Market
Festival Foods (Minnesota)
Harps Food Stores
Heinen's Fine Foods
Highland Park Market
Jungle Jim's International Market
Karns Quality Foods
The Food Emporium
Kings Super Markets
Kuhn's Quality Foods
Lewis Food Town
Lund Food Holdings
Market of Choice
Martin's Super Markets
Mollie Stone's Markets
New Seasons Market
No Frills Supermarkets
PCC Community Markets
Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co.
Price Chopper / Price Mart
Price Chopper Supermarkets
Rice Epicurean Markets
Ridley's Family Markets
Save Mart Supermarkets
Scolari's Food and Drug
Sendik's Food Market
Seven Mile Market
Shop 'n Save
Smart & Final
Strack & Van Til
Sullivan Family of Companies
Super Dollar Discount Foods
Super One Foods
Super Saver Foods (B&R Stores)
The Fresh Market
Tops Friendly Markets
United Grocery Outlet
Weaver Street Market
Yoke's Fresh Market
Big Bear Stores
Big Star Markets
Bottom Dollar Food
Buttrey Food & Drug
Daniel Reeves Stores
Davis Food City
Eagle Food Centers
Eisner Food Stores
Fresh & Easy
Giant Open Air
Henry's Farmers Market
Kessel Food Markets
Minyard Food Stores
Schaffer Stores Company
Seaway Food Town
Southern Family Markets
Sunflower Farmers Market
Ukrop's Super Markets
Warehouse Economy Outlet
Wild Oats Markets
List of supermarket chains in