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    Editor’s blog: Lidl’s low prices will surely get consumers to ‘rethink grocery’

    Retailer offering a slew of private brands, including a premium Italian line

    By Lawrence Aylward
    Lidl is offering a premium line of Italian products.

    “You can buy a strip steak, kayak and selfie stick all in one place … can't get any better than that.”

    That’s what my friend said after reviewing the 32-page circular that German-grocer Lidl released for its store opening in Greenville, S.C., on Thursday. Lidl opened 10 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia last week and plans to open 90 more on the East Coast this year. The retailer, which has about 10,000 locations in 27 countries, is aiming to win over Americans with its low — make that very low prices — on its slew of private brands and other brand-name items. Lidl, with U.S. operations in Arlington, Va., has adopted “rethink grocery” as its motto.

    According to Kantar Retail Director Mike Paglia, Lidl is looking to price its assortment at up to a whopping 50 percent less than other supermarkets in the United States. But Paglia said the figure “should be taken with a grain of salt.” According to a Kantar Retail price survey in the UK, Lidl was on average 15 percent cheaper than its main competitor, Asda. Private brands make up about 90 percent of Lidl's assortment.

    Paglia also said Lidl is making a point of separating itself from its competition (Aldi) by building 20,000 square-feet mini-supermarkets. 

    “By offering a bigger shopping experience than other discount grocers, Lidl is setting itself up to be the main destination for shoppers seeking a fill-in trip, but also a destination for those looking to save money on their shopping trip,” Paglia said.

    Health and sustainability will be key features of Lidl’s assortment, as private brand items will be free of trans fats, added MSG and certified synthetic colors, Paglia noted.

    With Lidl’s low prices, consumers are sure to “rethink grocery.” Lidl has made no secret that it wants to offer the lowest prices in the grocery business. But so have Lidl’s German rival Aldi and Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. It’s a good time to be consumer in this race to the bottom for low prices.

    With “fresh” being talked about predominantly in the grocery game, Lidl plans to make its mark in the category. According to the circular, some of the specials it is offering this week are watermelons for $2.49 (half price), chicken breasts for $1.29 a pound (27 percent off), yellow peaches for 89 cents a pound (40 percent off), and Black Angus strip steak for $6.99 a pound (17 percent off).

    Lidl is also offering several private brands at low prices, including an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter for $1.19 (20 percent off), a 48-ounce box of ice cream for $1.99 (16 percent off), six rolls of paper towels for $5.49 (21 percent off), a bottle of California chardonnay for $3.79 (15 percent off) and a six-pack of Belgian white ale under the Blue Key store brand label for $5.49 (15 percent off).

    There is also line of premium Italian-style products under Lidl’s Italiamo brand, which features attractive blue packaging with the Italiamo logo in green, white and red — the colors of the Italian flag. Products include frozen pizza for $2.99, grana padano (Italian hard cheese) for $5.99, extra virgin olive oil for $4.99, bruschetta for $2.99, breaded mozzarella for $2.49, pistachio pesto (an exclusive product?) for $1.79, Italian seasoning oil sprays for $1.99 and biscotti for $3.49.

    Lidl is teaming with curator Adam Lapierre to offer its own wine line.

    The retailer is also offering household items, clothing, grills and even a dumbbell weight set.

    Kantar expects Lidl to generate nearly $700 million in sales by the end of 2018.

    By the way, the two-person inflatable kayak will cost you $59.99 and the Bluetooth selfie stick a mere $4.99.

    By Lawrence Aylward
    • About Lawrence Aylward Aylward is editor in chief of Store Brands.

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