Imagine a grocery store that’s inexpensive, but high quality like Trader Joe’s. Instead of kale-tzatziki dips, it sells essentials (from locally sourced produce to coffee and wine) that home cooks need on a daily basis. It also stocks stylish budget-friendly appliances, furniture, and even fashion lines—basically a one-stop shop. Its name is Lidl (pronounced leedle), and 100 locations are set to open in the U.S. this year—mostly on the east coast.
The German chain is wildly popular in Europe. With 10,000 stores total in 26 different countries, it’s the largest discount grocery store on the continent. Its biggest competitor is the grocery store Aldi, a sister company to Trader Joe's.
Part of the store’s appeal is the streamlined shopping experience it offers. Unlike traditional grocery stores that might carry up to 15 different brands of mustard, Lidl keeps prices low by stocking a tightly edited assortment of familiar and private label brands. Every store has an identical layout so shoppers can find what they want quickly, sale items are clearly and boldly labeled, and products are displayed in their original shipping cartons for easy restocking. To cut down on waste, customers bring their own shopping bags, too. It's all about efficiency at Lidl.
In fact, the grocery chain consistently tops a big survey called the Global Simplicity Index, a scale that measures how consumer-friendly various service-oriented companies are. This year Lidl holds second place, beating giants like Google, Netflix, IKEA, and Amazon.
It’s unclear if U.S. stores will sell furniture and clothes, but here’s to hoping. In 2014 when the brand launched their women’s clothing collection abroad, it sold out within three days (there’s no beating sleek faux leather jackets priced under $20).
To see if a Lidl store is opening up near you, check out this detailed map. And while we’re certainly not hating on good ol' TJ’s, we’re giving it a friendly heads up: There may be a new market in town.