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As part of its ongoing strategy of improving the experience it offers shoppers, Lidl is investing in different payment solutions across countries in Europe. These include scan and go and self-checkouts.

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We are frequently seeing discounters Aldi and Lidl evolve their store concepts to meet the changing needs of shoppers. This week we have seen Aldi UK trial its first self-service checkouts and Lidl Ireland pioneer in-store recycling.

Aldi launches self-service checkouts

Aldi has launched self-service checkouts in its Glascote store in Tamworth, according to Retail Gazette. Although this is standard amongst the Big Four retailers and Aldi's main competitor Lidl, has them in 150 of its 740 UK stores, this is a first for Aldi. The retailer hopes the checkouts will improve the shopping experience, making it quicker and simpler. Aldi will make a decision on whether this should be rolled out to other stores based on the success of this trial. 

For subscribers, take a look at our store visit report of Aldi Glascote. The store is used as a testbed for the new initiatives and concepts before they are considered for roll-out across the country. It demonstrates other exciting new features that point towards a more sophisticated and efficiency-focused strategy to future-proof the business. 

Aldi is continuously innovating. We recently saw it open the first Aldi 'Local' banner. This store has been created to improve the shopper experience in cities.

Lidl Ireland launches in-store recycling

Lidl Ireland has become the first Irish retailer to offer shoppers in-store recycling stations to reduce packaging waste bought in-store. Shoppers can dispose of unwanted paper and plastic packaging in stations placed at the end of checkouts. This began as a trial in three stores and has been so successful Lidl is rolling it out to all its 160 stores in Ireland.

Plastic continues to be an area where retailers are frequently launching new initiatives to try and reduce waste. Aldi recently launched a trial to go plastic-free on five fruit and vegetable lines in Scotland. Tesco has also started a plastic-free fresh produce trial.

Discount continues to evolve

We are increasingly seeing discounters evolving, trialling new initiatives and store concepts across Europe. Aldi, Lidl, Norma and Eurospin have all looked to evolve with different concepts to target new shoppers and expand their reach;

  • Lidl opened its smallest store in Germany in February. At 503 sq m it is less than half of the traditional size of a Lidl store and offers 80% of the standard range. This is part of the retailers strategy to secure space near city centres. Plans are to open four more of these in 2019 in Munich
  • German discounter Norma is building larger stores and increasing its range. It will be adding around 160 SKUs to its existing range, mainly in chilled and fresh. The retailer is looking to emulate Aldi and Lidl's newest store formats
  • Italian Eurospin is also trialling a larger format. There will be greater space dedicated to fresh, including a butchery and bakery

Sign-up here to receive our free newsletter that will keep you up-to-date about the latest news and developments from discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Reitangruppen has reported its 2018 results, with REMA 1000 discount turnover increasing by 4.8% to €7.3bn, while Reitan Convenience turnover increased by 1.4% to €1.7bn.

REMA 1000 turnover increased by 4.8% to NOK 70.2bn (€7.3bn)

REMA 1000 turnover including franchises increased by 4.8% to NOK 70.2bn (€7.3bn). Operating profit increased by NOK 243m to NOK 1.9bn (€197.9m), which represents a 0.2% increase in operating margin to 2.8%.

Norway: revenue growth of 4.4%

In Norway, which accounts for most of the REMA 1000 business, revenue increased by 4.4%, while like-for-like revenue increased by 1.6%.

Denmark: revenue growth of 11%

Meanwhile in Denmark, REMA 1000 saw revenue increase by 11% to DKK 15,407m (€2.1bn), while like-for-like revenue increased by 4.9%

Henrik Burkal, CEO of REMA 1000 Denmark has partly REMA’s success to the fact that all stores are operated as franchisees, with each franchisee only able to run one store.

REMA 1000 also launched over 20 new stores in Denmark in 2018, bringing its total store count to 326. This year, the discounter plans to launch 15 to 20 new stores in the country, with it seeing the potential for 400 stores in the future.

REMA 1000 2018 highlights: new DC, store data system and chicken factory

During the year, the discounter has established new distribution centres, a new store data system and a new chicken factory.

Reitan Convenience: turnover increased by 1.4% to NOK 16.1bn (€1.7bn)

Reitangruppen’s convenience channel, Reitan Convenience has reported its results for 2018, where turnover increased by 1.4% to NOK 16.1bn (€1.7bn), alongside operating profit of NOK 409m (€42.6m).

Norway: turnover declined by 0.9%...

Most formats saw turnover decline, with Narvesen kiosk sales declining by 1.9% to NOK 2,280m (€237.5m). Meanwhile, 7-Eleven City store turnover declined by 4.2% to NOK 705m (€73.4m) and 7-Eleven forecourts saw turnover decline by 0.3% to NOK 820m (€85.4m).

Meanwhile the Northland concept, which operates just five stores saw turnover increase by 41% to NOK 109m (€11.4m).

…While in Sweden turnover increased by 2.2%

Most formats saw turnover increase, with Pressbyrån kiosk sales increasing by 3.8% to NOK 2,862m (€298.1m). 7-Eleven City store turnover also increased by 5.5% to NOK 861m (€89.7m).

…In Finland turnover increased by 1.5%

The retailer’s R-Kioski banner saw turnover increase by 1.5% to NOK 3,001m (€312.6m), while comparable sales turnover increased by 5.0%

…In Denmark turnover increased by 0.6%

Denmark accounts for the highest share of 7-Eleven sales in the Nordics, including 7-Eleven City stores and 7-Eleven gas stations. At the 7-Eleven City stores, turnover increased by 1.2% to NOK 2,008m (€209.1m), while at 7-Eleven gas stations, turnover declined by 1.0% to NOK 750m (€78.1m).

Earlier this year, 7-Eleven Denmark invited us to see a new concept convenience store in Copenhagen. IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access our exclusive store visit presentation here.

Source: IGD Research

Smaller Baltic markets reported strongest growth

  • In Latvia, Narvesen store turnover increased by 6.2% to NOK 616m (€64.2m), while like-for-like sales increased by 6.5%
  • In Lithuania, Reitan Convenience store turnover increased by 14.9% to NOK to NOK 339m (€35.3m), while like-for-like sales increased by 12.3%
  • In Estonia, R-kiosk store turnover increased by 5.3% to NOK 281m (€29.3m), while like-food-like sales increased by 2.9%

Reitan Convenience highlights: new stores, coffee shop acquisition

During 2018 Reitan Convenience established around 50 new stores and acquired the Baltic coffee shop chain Caffeine, which has 60 stores in the region.

2019 will see the introduction of a new YX 7-Eleven forecourt concept

This year, Reitangruppen will introduce a new forecourt concept under the YX 7-Eleven.

IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can learn more about 'Global best practice in forecourts' including what's shaping development and how the format could innovate in the future.

Source: IGD Research

Want to keep up to date with the latest news from Reitangruppen and other leading grocery retailers? Sign up for IGD’s free Retail Analysis international newsletter.

Germany-based Rewe Group announced revenues rose 4.7% to €61.2bn. Its performance was driven by growth both in its home market, where revenues increased by 4.5%, and internationally, where they rose by 5.2%.

“REWE Group is on a healthy growth trajectory, both nationally and internationally. In 2018, we once again profited from our huge investments made in previous years in the modernisation and expansion of our stores and in strengthening our Travel and Tourism division, both in Germany and in other European countries."

Independent food retail drives growth

Rewe said that while its performance was positive across its business units, the independent food retail business ‘was a driver of the positive overall development’. The group said its retailers had increased sales by 9.1% in 2018, which followed growth of 8.5% in 2017. The figures were aided by a 5.1% increase in the number of stores of Rewe retailer in Germany, which reached 1,718 at the end of 2018.

Discussing the performance, Rewe Group’s chief executive, Lionel Souque, noted the importance of its retailers ‘being local enterprises with roots in their respective towns and communities, high customer proximity, regional and local product ranges, as well as individual service.’ The continued success of its operating model is encouraging Rewe to maintain its focus on its independent retailers and its expansion within the area.

Supermarkets performing well in Germany and internationally

Rewe said its national full-range stores, which includes the Rewe, Rewe Center and Rewe to Go banners, amongst others, had achieved revenue growth of 12.3%, to €23.8bn, in 2018. It noted the success of its Rewe 2020 store concept and its focus on providing shoppers with ‘freshness, regionality, healthy diets, variety, innovation and expert assistance’.

Outside of Germany, its supermarkets and drugstores saw revenue growth of 6.2%, to €9.4bn. In Austria it saw revenues increase by 1.7% to €6.4bn, while in Central and Eastern Europe revenues rose by 17%. The strong growth was aided by the consolidation of the Lithuania-based Iki business for the first time and the performance of its Czech Republic-based operations, which grew revenues by 12%, to €1.1bn.

Discount remains in positive position

In Germany Rewe’s Penny discount format continued to perform positively, with revenues rising by 3.1% to €7.6bn from its 2,182 stores. Rewe said the growth was driven by ‘the consistent positioning of Penny as a neighbourhood discounter, the expansion of the organic and convenience ranges, as well as the introduction of Payback’.

Outside of its home market, Rewe said Penny had enjoyed revenue growth of 7.5%, taking its sales to €4.8bn. With its store numbers rising by 2.7%, to 1,505, the assumption is that like-for-like growth was strong across its various geographies. Rewe highlighted Romania, where revenues rose by 14.6%, and Austria, where they were up by 2.5%.

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