Lidl announced earlier this month that it is changing its real estate strategy and may now consider leasing sites, and opening stores in the 10,000 to 21,000 square foot range. Up until now the company has said it would only purchase properties where it would construct 36,000 square foot stores.
William Harwood, Lidl’s director of communications, said the change in strategy is an effort to “accelerate our site acquisition along the East Coast.” Harwood also noted that Lidl is looking for opportunities in urban areas where larger sites are harder to find.
Harwood claimed that Lidl is “very pleased with how customers have taken to the 47 stores we have opened over the past six months.”
However, industry analysts speculate that Lidl’s shift in real estate strategy may be due to disappointing results.
A report released by inMarket showed that the first Lidl stores opened in June with a 2.6% share of customer visits in the markets in which it was operating. Its share slid to 2.3% in July and 1.7% in August before rebounding in September to 1.9%. inMarket’s chief marketing officer said that he will have a better feeling for the discount grocer’s future once holiday traffic is analyzed.
Lidl recently backed out of planned deals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.