Lidl to enter United States market, plans 100 stores within a year

Germany-based grocer Lidl has moved up its timetable to open its first USA stores to the summer of 2017, but the company still has not given specific dates for opening Richmond-area stores.

Within a year of the first openings, the company plans to have 100 stores open along the East Coast.

Internationally, Lidl operates about 10,000 stores across 27 countries in Europe. In a company presentation obtained by Business Insider, Lidl likened its USA format to a "hybrid", similar to Trader Joe's or Harris Teeter, but closer to a Trader Joe's. They are not falling asleep.

"The grocer is Lidl", he said.

Twenty stores will open this summer in Virginia, North Carolina and SC, with 100 more along the East Coast within a year, according to a company news release.

Industry experts expect Lidl to go head to head in the United States with another German discount grocery powerhouse, Aldi.

Last week Aldi announced it would invest $1.6 billion in its US stores, planning to remodel and expand more than 1,300 stores by 2020. The low-price grocer already has a massive European presence with 10,000 stores, but now takes aim at a USA market already dominated by big brands such as Walmart and Kroger.

That could make it more appealing in the United States, where customers tend to prefer branded goods to private labels.

Based in Neckarsulm in southern Germany, Lidl had sales of 64.6 billion euros ($68 billion) in the year to end February 2016.

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