Lidl is building three distribution centers in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, encroaching on an area where Aldi already has 400 stores, according to a brief analysis in Brick Meets Click.
This likely means that Lidl views "synergy with Aldi as beneficial to their growth strategy," and will pull on Aldi's consumer base, which is already familiar with hard discount models and a wide selection of high-quality private label offerings.
Lidl brings a competitive edge over Aldi with it to the U.S. Brick Meets Click predicts that it will lure shoppers who want experiences that more closely resemble mainstream grocery stores.
Aldi and Lidl take different — but often parallel — approaches to being more to customers than at first meets the eye. Both chains were born in Germany, a country widely recognized for operational efficiencies and customer discipline – a great aid to Aldi's “no loitering” and ”get 'em in, get 'em out” operating policies.
On the surface (and across its website), the emphasis at Aldi is on private label products and, emphatically, food. Non-food items are almost an afterthought, though the company has a deep catalog of non-food private-label offerings.
Lidl, by comparison, brags about its wide product range, and stresses its beyond-food reach through short-term specials advertised, among other places, on a banner crossing each store's website.
Both companies hold prices bone-deep – Aldi by controlling products from their source and private-labeling them; Lidl by using its enormous buying power (in Europe, its parent Schwarz Gruppe is ranked second only to Carrefour) and tight operational controls at store level.
Before the end of 2018, Lidl intends to have 150 U.S. stores. This is minuscule compared to Aldi's plan to have some 1,500 stores open in the area between Kansas and the East Coast before the end of 2018. And by then, we'll see who is winning the clash of the discounters.