|Schwarz Unternehmens Treuhand KG|
Number of locations
|10,000+ in 28 European countries|
|Revenue||€85.7 billion (2016)|
|Owner||Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG|
Number of employees
Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG (German pronunciation: [ˈliːdəl]; UK // LID-əl), formerly Schwarz Unternehmens Treuhand KG, is a German global discount supermarket chain, based in Neckarsulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, that operates over 10,000 stores across Europe. It belongs to the holding company Schwarz Gruppe, which also owns the store chains Handelshof and hypermarket Kaufland.
Lidl is the chief competitor of the similar German discount chain Aldi.
The company was founded in 1930 by a member of the Schwarz family, and was called Schwarz Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung (Schwarz Foods Assortment Wholesale). Lidl has since established itself in over 20 countries throughout Europe.
The name Lidl is the surname of a former business partner of Josef Schwarz's, Ludwig Lidl, a retired schoolteacher, and Josef's son Dieter Schwarz bought the rights to the name from him for 1,000 German marks, as he could not use the name Schwarz Markt; Schwarzmarkt means "black market". Lidl is part of the Schwarz Group, the fifth-largest retailer in the world with sales of $82.4 billion (2011).
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 started. In 1977, under his son Dieter Schwarz, the Schwarz-Gruppe began to focus on discount markets, larger supermarkets, and cash and carry wholesale markets.
The first 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 discount stores.
Since launching in the United Kingdom in September 1994, Lidl has grown consistently, and today has over 590 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 competitor Aldi is growing, with half of shoppers in the United Kingdom visiting Aldi or 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 "unbridgeable", but undisclosed differences over the company's 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 Hojer, previously head of Lidl's international buying operation.
In June 2015, the company announced it would establish a United States headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. United States stores are set to open first US 20 US stores summer of 2017 throughout VA, NC, and SC with a total of 100 stores by close of 2017. Lidl is focusing on locations in East Coast states between Pennsylvania and Georgia.
In October 2009, Lidl Movies was launched in the United Kingdom, undercutting 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 2011, taking 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
|This section does not cite any sources. (September 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Like fellow German supermarket Aldi, Lidl has a no-frills approach of displaying most of its 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, so that a profit can still be made even though the prices are low.
Together with Aldi, Lidl has carved out its own niche with this approach. 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.
The 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 discount. 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.
It 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 repeatedly criticised Lidl for mistreatment of workers, breach of European directives on working time, and other abuses. These 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 excessive hours and are obliged 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. Hidden cameras were said to 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 "piece-rate" work.
In July 2003, a judge in Savona, Italy, sentenced Lidl for antiunion policies, a crime in Italy. Lidl has been criticised in both the United Kingdom and Ireland for not allowing workers to join unions.
In November 2014, Lidl UK staff were forbidden to speak any language other than English, not even Welsh (a language used in Wales). 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".
The 'English only' rule provoked protests from the Polish community in Kirkcaldy. The incident was broadly commented on in the press and the policy was ridiculed. Poles complained that they were discriminated against, as they could no longer be served in their native language. One of the Polish protesters, speaking with The Scotsman, said: "I cannot imagine an opposite situation, where a British worker is not allowed to speak to a British customer in the English language anywhere in Europe". Eventually, the policy was withdrawn.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Lidl stores are in each member state of the European Union, excluding Latvia and Estonia, and in Switzerland. Confirmation of expansion into the United States has been confirmed as of 15 February 2017 with plans for up to 100 stores on the country's East Coast. Australian markets are pending; announcements expected early 2017.
|Country||Number of stores|
|Lithuania||22 (planned expansion to ≈80) |
|United Kingdom||630 (planned expansion to 1500)|
- Thomasson, Emma (7 February 2017). "Lidl replaces CEO after less than three years". Retail Analysis. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "Impressum." Lidl. Retrieved 28 September 2012. "Adresse: Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG Stiftsbergstraße 1 74167 Neckarsulm "
- "User account | Supermarket News". Subscribers.supermarketnews.com. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Half of UK shoppers visited Lidl, Aldi over Xmas - fastFT: Market-moving news and views, 24 hours a day". FT.com. 13 January 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Ricadela, Aaron (21 March 2014). "German Grocer Lidl Names Replacement CEO After Holland Departure". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Vozzella, Laura. "McAuliffe bags German grocer Lidl, bringing hundreds of jobs to Virginia". The Washington Post.
- "Lidl". 30 August 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
- Thomasson, Emma. "German discounter Lidl starts hiring for U.S. stores launch". Reuters. Yahoo! News. 13 December 2016.
- "Latest News – Which? News". Which.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Kukiewicz, Julia (28 February 2013). "OutNow: A Look Back". choose.net. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Our Offers". Lidl Photos. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Sarah Butler (10 September 2016). "Lidl UK boss unexpectedly leaves German supermarket". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- "Black Book on Lidl in English" (PDF).
- Boyes, R. (27 March 2008). "Lidl the Big Brother Supermarket Is Watching You". The Times.
- Pidd, Helen (14 March 2007). "Cheap But Not So Cheerful". The Guardian.
- "Il tribunale di Savona condanna Lidl Italia per comportamento antisindacale" (in Italian). Federazione Italiana Lavoratori Comercio Turismo e Servici (Italian Federation of Workers in Commerce, Tourism, and Services). 9 July 2003. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- "'English only' rule at Lidl shops sparks Welsh row". BBC News. 7 November 2014.
- "Lidl Polish workers banned from speaking own language". scotsman.com. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Polish workers at Lidl told to stop speaking their native language or they will be sacked". dailymail.co.uk. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Speak English or face sack: Kirkcaldy store tells Polish staff to stop speaking their native language". thescottishsun.co.uk. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "FIFE LIDL STORE BANS STAFF FROM SPEAKING POLISH TO CUSTOMERS". eveningtelegraph.co.uk. 8 November 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Polish Lidl employees banned from speaking Polish". money.aol.co.uk. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Lidl Polish workers banned from speaking own language". scotsman.com. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Lidl performs U-turn over Polish language ban". scotsman.com. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Lidl UK apologises over Polish language ban". thenews.pl. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Lidl Austria Company Profile". Lidl.at. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
- "LIDL Заслужава си! Нашите магазини". Lidl.bg. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Lidl želi preteći Plodine i imati čak 120 trgovina u Hrvatskoj". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). 14 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "Lidl Corporate Info" (in Finnish). Retrieved 18 September 2015.
- "Anglo Celt - 19 new jobs created and new Virginia Lidl store". Anglo Celt. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
- "Volantini Lidl". CentroVolantini. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- Vizbarienė, Rūta. "„Lidl" atidaro parduotuvę Panevėžyje".
- "LIDL sklepy spożywcze – gazetka, promocje, przepisy, praca". Lidl.pl. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Lidlove ljubljanske trgovine del UNICEF-ove mreže Varnih točk". Instore.si. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- Lebensmittelzeitung, Lebensmittelhandel Spanien 2014
- "Medarbetare - Lidl Sverige" (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Pressmeddelande - Lidl Sverige tecknar fastighetsskötselavtal" (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "A propos de Lidl Suisse". lidl.ch.
- lidl.com, the company's official website (includes links to national sites)
- Yahoo! — Lidl & Schwarz Stiftung & Co. KG Company Profile