NEW YORK— Lidl has opened its first store in New York City, which is also its first leased location, as the company updates its U.S. growth strategy to include existing buildings.
The new store, in the borough of Staten Island, is part of a major push Lidl has undertaken in the New York area. The company has been opening ground-up locations in the metro area, including, recently, stores in Union and Hazlet, NJ, as part of its ongoing expansion program. But it also has begun to embrace the notion of remodeling existing spaces. Some months ago, Staten Island was the first community where the company said it would lease. But, in November, Lidl announced it had purchased the Best Market supermarket chain, with 27 stores stretching from New Jersey east through New York City into, especially, Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties.
In the first phase of its development, the company focused on ground-up store builds in more rural and exurban markets but, when that effort didn’t pay off as quickly as expected, Lidl amended its expansion plans to include leased locations in more urban municipalities.
The new 36,000 square foot Staten Island store falls in line with Lidl ground up builds, but the company has expressed interest in retail sites in the 15,000 to 25,000 square foot range as suitable for leased locations.
At the opening of the New York store, actually positioned as part of the Staten Island Mall, company spokesperson Chandler Ebeier told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® that Lidl had taken care to constitute the store in as close a layout as it could to a ground-up location, with six aisles of products and seven checkouts. The store leads with bakery, floral and produce, as has been the case with the more than 50 locations the German retailer has opened in the U.S. over the past year and a half.
“For the most part, you see the set-up is kind of the same,” she said. “Although this is a fitted-out location, you’re still getting wide aisles, easy-to-shop convenience. We’re just making sure our concept is convenient as possible for shoppers.”
She said shopping convenience was also the major factor behind Lidl’s choosing a mall location for its Staten Island store. However, the decision to put the store in a mall also recognized that the location perched Lidl in a place where it could drum up interest among shoppers on their way to visit adjacent retailers and the restaurants operating in the facility.
The timing of the opening, Ebeier said, ensured Lidl would get that much more visibility among potential customers passing in the holiday bustle. As a new food retail banner— with a significant, largely seasonable but continually conspicuous general merchandise element including housewares— Lidl recognizes that it needs to give consumers a reason to explore its deep-discount grocery format, one that is only just becoming familiar to consumers in the U.S.
That all being true, product quality and value are critical to Lidl in its effort drive customer acquisition and retention, Ebeier noted. Inherent in the proposition Lidl presents consumers is a complete but edited assortment of low-price everyday grocery needs complemented by promotional seasonal and occasional food and general merchandise, mostly private or exclusive labels with national and even some European brands thrown into the mix.
On opening, in-store and circular deals at the Staten Island Lidl store included a $19.99 dining chair complementing a $39.99 dining table, $19.99 pendant lamps, a $39.99 ceramic heater, a $14.99 hand blender and a $24.99 30-piece stainless steel flatware set, as well as electric salt and pepper mills, each $9.99, stemless wine glasses, either 15 or 21 ounce, at $4.99 for two, and stainless steel bowl sets with storage lids at $6.99 for three.
As it wins over the more curious among consumers, Lidl counts on them spreading the word about its pricing and convenience to their friends and family members. Still, a major metro store in a mall that is a shopping hub for a community of almost a half million people can certainly help boost Lidl’s profile as its expansion in the U.S. continues.