Lidl claims to be Europe's largest chain of discount superstores, now with more than 10,500 outlets across 30 countries, under the banner "Quality For Less". The group has a presence in virtually every country across the European Union; in most it sits behind arch-rival Aldi by sales. The main exception is France, where it is roughly twice Aldi's size. However, unlike its rival, it has only a minimal presence elsewhere. It took its first major steps outside Europe in 2017 with a launch into the US; and also opened an online-only store in China. Although it specializes in groceries, Lidl also offers a select range of other goods including clothing and home electrical products, sometimes as limited period promotional specials. Most goods are private label, and Lidl stocks a wider range of products than Aldi, as well as a slightly less stripped-down store environment. The main Lidl band is partnered by hypermarket brand Kaufland, now the leader in that segment in Germany. Both businesses are privately owned via a charitable foundation by Dieter Schwarz, the son of Lidl's founder, now Germany's richest individual. With combined revenues from these two businesses growing steadily, parent Schwarz Gruppe overtook Metro, Carrefour and Tesco to become Europe's biggest retailer in 2015. Sales for 2017 were €97bn. Klaus Gehring is CEO of Schwarz-Gruppe. Jesper Hojer resigned unexpectedly in 2019 as global CEO of Lidl after only two years in the role. He was replaced on an interim basis by Ignazio Paterno. The group was founded in the 1930s when Josef Schwarz became a partner in fruit wholesaler Lidl & Co. As Lidl & Schwarz, it expanded into retailing for the first time in the 1950s. Dieter Schwarz became chairman in 1977 and began expanding the business aggressively into other countries.
Capsule checked 8th September 2018
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Historical profile information for Lidl
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Feb 2019: Just six months after the departure of its flagship client Leclerc, Australie triumphed in the creative review called by challenger brand Lidl. The account moves from Havas Humanseven. The German-based discounter is still small compared to France's traditional supermarkets, but is the country's fastest-growing grocery retailer by far, with market share reaching a new high this month of 5.7%. It is already one of France's top five advertisers, with a spend of more than €500m in 2017.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Feb 2019: Lidl strengthened the management team at its hard-pressed US division with the appointment of veteran supermarket executive Roman Heini as regional chairman, working alongside CEO Johannes Fieber. Heini was poached late last year from arch-rival Aldi, where he was widely credited with building the German discounter's enormously successful UK business. Lidl has not disclosed any figures for its US business, which launched a year ago. However, the number of outlets is still well below Lidl's original forecast, despite the impending acquisition of 27 Best Market outlets.
Adbrands Daily Update 14th Jan 2019: Discounters Aldi and Lidl suffered unexpected reverses in the UK over the peak Christmas shopping period. Despite a big promotional push, both stores saw their market share slip back slightly from the highs they had been enjoying for the previous few months. According to Kantar Worldpanel figures, Aldi slipped from its record high of 7.6% to 7.4% for the 12 weeks to 30th Dec, while Lidl fell back to 5.4% from its own best-ever 5.6%. Small differences to be sure, but significant nonetheless. Their loss appears to have been the the big four's gain. Tesco and Sainsbury in particular notched up their best performance since Feb 2018 with 27.8% and 16.2% respectively. In a year-on-year comparison, however, Aldi and Lidl were both higher, and Tesco and Sainsbury's lower, than in Dec 2017.
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Dec 2018: Karmarama scored a significant new business victory with the capture of creative for the UK outpost of discounter Lidl. With billings of around £70m annually, it is almost certainly the biggest win to-date for Karmarama, and definitely the biggest since the agency was acquired by Accenture. The account was previously with TBWA.
Adbrands Social Media 5th Dec 2018: "The Cell". Not many ads from Finland cross our desk. That's clearly our loss judging by this very fine Christmas spot for Lidl from Helsinki agency Folk, which has the elegance and human warmth of the best in its class. As the Yuletide deluge slows to a trickle, it's a welcome reminder that even in the frenzied commercial mayhem of Christmas, top-notch creativity still shines through. Interesting also to note that discounters Lidl and Aldi have demonstrated in their seasonal advertising in so many of their global markets a lighter touch and greater sophistication than almost all of their established supermarket rivals.
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