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1st February 2023

Lidl. The German supermarket that made miracles


Lidl why the German discount supermarket is called like that
It is one of the most famous supermarket chains nowadays. But why is Lidl called like that? We tell you everything!

Over the years, Lidl has been able to impose itself on the French market. So much so that today, it is one of the favorite brands of the French. But why is it called like that? We make you discover all its history in this article.

Lidl… since 1930

It is in 1930 that the brand Lidl was born. Created by Josef Schwarz, the brand is first specialized in the sale of exotic fruits.

When he took over the Heilbronn-based company, Josef Schwarz renamed it Lidl & Schwarz KG. He also expanded the range of products and offered more food products.

In 1944, the building did not survive the war and was destroyed in bombings. But this did not mean the end of the brand. 10 years later, Josef Schwarz opened a new store in the same German city.

His son, Dieter Schwartz, took over in 1972. Very invested and ambitious, he decides to launch himself in the hard-discount market. His goal? To offer food products at low prices. Moreover, he did not invent anything and simply copied another giant in this field, Aldi!

Now that the idea is there. We have to find a name for it! If today the famous chain is known under the name of Lidl, it was not however the first option chosen. We tell you more.

Where does the name come from?

When Dieter Schwartz opened his first hard-discount store, he had to find a name for it. At first he thought of Schwarz Markt. Nothing really very original. It is indeed the contraction of his family name with the word market. So that’s Schwarz’s supermarkets. Good.

Then he has a much better idea. He rethought the original name of his father’s company, Lidl & Schwarz. However, for legal reasons, he is not allowed to use the name Lidl.

But Dieter Schwartz has not said his last word. He was lucky enough to come across a newspaper article about a retired painter and teacher, Ludwig Lidl. He decided to buy the right to use his name for 1,000 marks, the old German currency.

Now that the name Lidl was validated, he opened his first store in Ludwigshafen in 1973. When his father died in 1977, Dieter Schwartz took over the family business. At that time, the company already had 33 stores in its network. It was not until 1988 that Lidl began to expand its empire beyond the borders.

The beginnings of Lidl in France

When Dieter Schwartz decided to tackle the European market, he naturally started with France. On April 5, 1989, the first Lidl store opened its doors in Sarreguemines, in eastern France.

At the beginning of the 90s, Lidl made a name for itself on the hard-discount market, with a 14% market share. This is rather promising.

The German company seems to have found the right recipe to please the French: low prices! But how can the brand break its prices so much?

Well, at Lidl: no fuss! The company is going to reduce its costs as much as possible to be able to offer food products at mini prices. Thus, its shelves are organized on pallets placed on the ground. And no branded products are sold.

But if the economic model seemed to be well on its way to a flourishing future, the 2000s were marked by a drop in customer enthusiasm for hard discounting. Lidl must therefore review its strategy!

Moreover, the German company has to face the competition which is quite tough. In 2012, the company announced that it wanted to move upmarket. But “without becoming a traditional supermarket”. But then what does that mean in concrete terms?

Are we a bad business owner?

For Lidl, this move could have been fatal. Indeed, customers who were used to buying goods at mini prices might not have followed the German chain’s move upmarket.

But for Lidl, it was a bet to play. And the gamble paid off! Indeed, the brand has managed to go upmarket while keeping its prices quite affordable.

The brand’s stores themselves have also undergone some changes. We can now find big brands in the shelves of the supermarket. Clients can also enjoy a fruit and vegetable section worthy of the name! And that’s not all, as soon as they enter the store, they are greeted by the smell of freshly baked bread.

“For the past few months, we’ve been seeing a lot less needy families, and more and more people that I also see at the Monoprix” confided a customer to Capital magazine. This Lidl 2.0 is a success for the company.

For the German retailer, this shift was even a necessity to continue to grow. Because it is important to know that after many golden years, Lidl’s popularity was starting to fade.

Lidl, a trendy Supermarket

Over the years, Lidl has managed to break away from its hard-discounter image. After having been successful with its fresh produce departments and food products at unbeatable prices, the brand is now tackling the world of fashion.

Filled suede boots for only 9 euros, comfy slippers for less than 6 euros, a plush coat for less than 30 euros… in short, at Lidl, fashionistas can do their shopping without exceeding their budget.

And that’s not all, it’s not only the fashion world that’s shaking, Lidl also offers electronic products at a bargain price! Wireless headphones for 49.99 euros? Yes, sir, at Lidl nothing is impossible!

Finally, the German store also offers household appliances to equip the whole house. Its Silvercrest brand is a hit with customers. In particular, its food processor is a phenomenal success.

Toaster, grill, hot air fryer, chopper, coffee machine… all the products you need to become a real cordon-bleu are available at Lidl! And all this, needless to say, at prices that defy all competition. The blue and yellow brand has nothing to prove anymore.