Popular German grocer Lidl to open in Ashburn
The grocery chain, which operates 10,000 stores in 27 countries across Europe, has already cut into a number of EU country competitors’ market shares with its no-frills, low price, private label approach to grocery shopping. The store sells everything from produce to pants.
Lidl’s decision to move to the U.S. market was simple, officials say, noting they saw a problem among American customers they thought they could fix. That market plan suggests shoppers “compromise” when it comes to their weekly experience.
Virginia in particular, including Loudoun County, is slated to play a key role in Lidl’s U.S. strategy. The commonwealth will serve as a hub for the company’s tried-and-true approach toward discount grocery shopping.
Last week the Loudoun Board of Supervisors approved a 13-acre commercial and retail development in Broadlands at the northwest end of the intersection of Broadlands Boulevard and Claiborne Parkway.
Loudoun County and a handful of other locations around Virginia and across the country are already home to Lidl’s main European competitor, the German grocer Aldi, which has been in the U.S. since the 1970s and now has 1,600 stores across 35 states, including in Sterling.
In June 2015, Lidl opened its first U.S. headquarters in Arlington, and the company has since announced its regional distribution centers in Spotsylvania County.
Lidl spokesperson William Harwood told the Times-Mirror it has been a “huge advantage” for the company to have its headquarters in Virginia, one of the reasons he thinks the company has been able to attract a “capable workforce” that has helped launch its U.S. expansion ahead of schedule.
This summer, Lidl will begin its “first wave” of 20 store openings in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company will then open as many as 100 stores across the East Coast over the next year.
The company expects to create about 4,000 new jobs by opening its first 120 stores, including 800 new store associates jobs in Virginia.
Although Harwood could not disclose the exact locations or opening dates of the stores Lidl will open this summer, its website currently shows nearly 100 job openings across Virginia for corporate and store associate positions -- the highest volume of jobs the company has announced compared to other parts of the East Coast.
Thus far, company officials have kept the store’s plans mostly under wraps.
The grocery chain had mostly been referred to as a “German grocer” during public Board of Supervisors meetings.
“We think that we can deliver a simplified shopping experience that customers will be able to feel confident that they can get the best quality at the best prices,” Harwood said. “That’s really what we’re seeking to deliver.”
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