Walmart and Aldi are currently locked in a price war for national grocery domination, with Walmart demanding price cuts from suppliers to help it cut prices for consumers in turn. Yet the company’s price war will soon have a new front in some markets, as another German discount grocer, Lidl, opens its first U.S. stores. Both Walmart and Lidl, as well as other stores nearby, are figuring out how to beat a rival that hasn’t opened any stores on this continent yet.
Think of Lidl as a combination of a standard supermarket and a bare-bones Aldi. The planned U.S. stores are large and airy, with wide aisles and some offerings of national-brand products that you’ll actually recognize.
Lidl already has 10,000 stores in Europe, and plans to open as many as 100 stores in its first year in the U.S. Experts estimate that it could open 600 stores in the next five years if all goes well with the initial launch.
Aldi stores are small and almost everything they stock is a private-label brand. That’s great for savings, since these brands don’t run any ads, but the small, older stores and unfamiliar brands turn some shoppers off.
That’s why Aldi is investing more than a billion and a half dollars in renovating its stores, and investing $5 billion in opening even more stores in the coming years, perhaps hoping to establish itself in more markets before Lidl arrives.
Walmart has been working to spruce up stores and pay workers more in recent years, and it will be able to offer customers greater convenience soon: More stores are getting dedicated pickup points for grocery orders, which will not necessarily be giant vending machines. The company is also working to get prices down and expand its store-brand offerings.