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Is Lidl planning move online?

Lidl is reportedly looking at launching an online delivery service in a further challenge to the major supermarket multiples.

According to the Daily Mail, the discounter created a holding company with Companies House last month called Lidl Digital Logistics Great Britain Ltd. It lists Lidl UK’s Chief Executive Christian Hartnagel and Chief Financial Officer Dirk Kahl as directors.  Details about the actual purpose of the new company are not given with the nature of the business classified as “other business support service activities”.

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Lidl told the newspaper: “We have a digital department already established within the business and, of course, online is something we’re looking at, but we have no immediate plans at the moment.”

Whilst its key rival Aldi sells wine and some non-food products online, the discounters have so far steered clear of offering a grocery delivery service in the UK due to the substantial investment required and high costs of servicing orders.

However, with the proposed Sainsbury’s-Asda merger and the recent tie-up between Tesco-Booker likely to help the supermarket multiples curtail the rapid growth of Aldi and Lidl, experts say the discounters will need to do more to protect their competitive advantage and appeal to consumers doing more of their shopping online.

“Discounters like Lidl have traditionally shunned ecommerce because it was incompatible with their low-cost business model,” said Natalie Berg, retail analyst at NBK Retail. “Once you factored in the cost of picking, packing and delivering, there’s no way Lidl could have offered the same low prices you find in store.

“However, the rise in third-party delivery services is opening doors for supermarkets, allowing them to cater to the growing demand for online grocery without the hefty investment in infrastructure or systems.”





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