Lidl owner to invest €6.5bn in 2016 - reports
The Schwarz group that owns German discount supermarket chain Lidl plans to invest €6.5bn in 2016, with part of that going to sprucing up its stores in its home market, according to reports.
Lidl, and its German discounter rival Aldi, have become giants in European retail by keeping prices low with a strategy of selling mostly own-brand goods stacked on pallets in no-frills stores with minimal staff.
While their fast growth elsewhere in Europe still poses a threat to the likes Tesco and Carrefour, the discounters are losing market share to supermarkets at home, prompting both to offer more branded and fresh products and to invest in making their stores more attractive.
The Schwarz group, which owns Lidl and Kaufland hypermarkets, will invest the €6.5bn in both chains, the company told the Heilbronner Stimme newspaper.
Lidl will invest more than €3bn in the next five years just in its 3,200 stores in Germany, the chain's boss Sven Seidel told the newspaper.
Lidl, which plans to follow Aldi into the U.S. market in 2018, saw its sales rise 9.5pc to €64.6bn in the fiscal year to the end of February, the paper said.
Total Schwarz group sales should rise to €90bn in the current fiscal year after an increase of 8pc to €85.7bn in 2015/16, the company told the paper.
Based in Neckarsulm in southern Germany, Lidl now runs more than 10,000 stores in Europe and is owned by Germany's richest man, Dieter Schwarz, son of the company's founder Josef Schwarz.