Lidl round up: US chairman exits, expansion pace continues in Europe

Date : 03 August 2020

We look at the latest developments and news from Lidl in the US, Italy and other European countries.

US: Chairman Roman Heini exits

Lidl US Chairman Roman Heini took the decision to leave the company to “pursue other professional interests and spend more time with his family” as reported by website Supermarket News. Before joining Lidl US in October 2018, Heini worked for 18 years at Aldi, including the role of Managing Director at Aldi UK (2010-2014) where he contributed to the modernisation of the discounter.

In the US he contributed, alongside President and CEO, Johannes Fieber, to the development of the new strategy launched in 2019. The new strategy reviewed the stores’ model and the products’ assortment to better align with shoppers’ expectations and needs. The new strategy seems to be successful as the pace of openings has been accelerating since the beginning of 2020, in the last week of July four new stores opened.

Source: Lidl, Roman Heini (left) and Johannes Fieber

 

Roman Heini message on his departure from Lidl US on Linkedin :

“There are no words that can express how truly grateful I am for the privilege of working with the team of Lidl US. You have been part of my family and home during one of the most challenging times for all of us. That I have gotten to spend this time working with people who are so motivated and upbeat is a blessing I hope you have shared, and will continue to share.

I trust you will understand that the decision to leave our company comes after much reflection on my personal goals, not just for my career, but most importantly, having recently lost my father, for my family. It should in no way detract from my confidence in the future of Lidl US.”

Italy: strong expansion plans and support to the economy  

Lidl currently operates more than 660 stores in Italy and plans to open an additional 50 by the end of February 2020 as part of its “Lidl per l’Italia” (Lidl for Italy) plan. The plan aims to increase the discounter support to the country’s economy where it can:

  • Investment of €400 m in the development of the network including the modernisation of existing stores and the opening of 50 additional ones. Important improvements will be done across the supply chain as part of this investment plan
  • Creation of 2,000 new jobs
  • Increase of the sourcing of Italian products to reach exports of more than €1.6 bn

Finland: Prices cut on 10% of the assortment

The discounter aims at strengthening its position as the cheapest grocery retailer in the country. It has announced it will permanently lower the prices of nearly 300 products, mainly private label ones, across all grocery categories. This means a price reduction on more than 10% of the entire assortment. The new price reductions range from few cents to as much as 90 percent.

The discounter explains this will not affect the existing agreements with its suppliers as it will reduce its margins to be able to invest in the lower prices.

Sneakers made from recycled plastic bottles

Lidl has launched new pairs of sneakers made from recycled PET plastic. 25% of the plastic used to create these shoes is Ocean Bound Plastic. The Ocean Bound Plastic comes from bottles collected on the shores of Asian beaches. The plastic is then recycled and transformed into raw materials.

Austria and Switzerland were the first Lidl operations to launch the new sneakers, under the discounter’s private label brand Crivit.

Source: Lidl Switzerland

 

To contribute to the reduction of the consumption of single-use plastics, Lidl has launched earlier in 2020 the Reset Plastic project. This project is based on five principles of action: Reduce, Redesign, Recycle, Remove and Research. The sneakers were developed around the Redesign and Recycle principles focusing on the development of new products that could be recyclable with a limited impact on the environment.

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