Lidl scraps plans to launch online in the UK

Lidl store. Photo: Lidl press photo
Lidl dissolves its digital logistics company and focuses on the bricks-and-mortar business in the UK. Photo: Lidl press photo
By Reidar Molthe

13 October 2020 14:01

Lidl scraps plans to launch online in the UK

Lidl is scrapping plans to launch into online grocery in the UK as it closes its digital logistics arm and declares to focus on bricks-and-mortar business.

Lidl Digital Logistics, which the German discounter set up in 2018 to explore expanding into online grocery, is now being officially shut down according to The Grocer. The news comes as the UK’s largest grocers, including Aldi, have pushed to expand their online offerings during the pandemic.

While Aldi has introduced both a new click-and-collect service and a growing Deliveroo partnership, Lidl hinted at following suit. It launched a click-and-collect trial in Poland, partnered with Deliveroo rival Buymie in the UK, and advertised for several ecommerce roles towards the end of last year.

However, the closure of its Digital Logistics arm suggests any further significant expansion into the online sphere is no longer among Lidl’s plans.

“The online company was originally set up in 2018 to house a series of digital logistics assets,” says a Lidl spokeswoman.

“However, in line with our business model and maintaining simple and streamlined operations, the decision has been made to close the entity, but to keep exploring suitable digital opportunities within existing structure, as we did with the successful launch of our Lidl Plus rewards app. Our focus remains on our bricks-and-mortar business, which we see as presenting significant growth opportunity.”

Delivery expenses

It is understood that despite its best efforts, Lidl has been unable to find a way to delivering groceries without raising its prices, which is the main reason Lidl UK is closing its online operations.

Many would argue that this is a paradox. In large parts of the world, home deliveries are growing rapidly even though it is difficult to make profit now. There may therefore be reason to believe that it is only a matter of time before Lidl UK reopens for home deliveries. In six to 12 months we will know the answer.

Sources: The Grocer, Reuters, Lidl, Aldi.

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