Lidl is targeting 300 stores in Sweden

Lidl Store. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
By Reidar Molthe

1 June 2023 12:49

Lidl is targeting 300 stores in Sweden

Lidl tried to build a business in Norway from 2004 to 2008 but had to pull out with significant losses. In Sweden, on the other hand, which besides lower import tariffs, in many ways is not entirely unlike Norway, Europe's largest grocery chain is doing well.

Until Lidl opened its 200th store in Sigtuna in November 2020, the chain maintained a high pace of expansion, where new openings followed each other. Since then, they have taken it more calmly. In two and a half years, there have only been established five new Lidl stores in Sweden, according to Fri Köpenskap, a weekly for the grocery business.

Lidl wants to increase the pace

In a creative campaign, Lidl announces that they are aiming for 300 stores soon but will not specify the timing further.

"We feel that there is an untapped potential," says Johan Augustsson, CEO in Lidl Sweden, to ICA News.

"I won't specify a time, as there are several factors that affect us. One is that we are far away from getting all the locations that we want. On the positive side we have a concept that consumers tend to increasingly like,” argues Augustsson.

Only Lidl in Sweden is really a discounter now

Most journalist and experts believe (as far as this author has brought the matter to light) that the chances are good for Lidl to reach 300 stores. Analytics rate them as realistic, not least because the German-owned chain will soon be the only real discounter left in Sweden, as Netto's stores are rebranded - following Salling Group's sale of the chain in 2021 to Swedish Coop.

Some would argue that Sweden also has Willys. Yes, but it is not a low-cost concept in the traditional sense. It is a supermarket with low prices and good offers. Willy's is not a completely comparable competitor.

“Willy's is also a successful chain, but within hard discount, Lidl is alone in Sweden. Netto is disappearing after Coop's purchase, and ICA has (oddly enough, author’s note) no low-price concept, asserts Per Andersson, a consumer goods expert at HUI, a Trade Research Institute.

Logistics is key and so is environment

To service the growing number of stores, Lidl opened its third Swedish central warehouse in Sweden beginning of December 2022. This time in Örebro.

Just like in the other Lidl countries, the chain works systematically to create a greener profile in Sweden. On the holiday island of Gotland, Lidl will open a store in July next year that it describes as "the world's first climate-neutral food store".

In the most recent fiscal year, which ended in February, the chain had a turnover of 10.8 billion SEK which give Lidl a market share of approximately 5.5 percent.

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