Lidl, along with its fellow German discounter Aldi, might be growing strongly in the UK right now but it wasn’t always that way.
Its former UK boss, Ronny Gottschlich, says that in the early years the discounters were really small players.
“If anything it was considered to be a poor man’s shop. The German discount model would sit in the corner and people thought you couldn’t do your weekly shopping in there.”
But things began to change around the time of the financial crisis in 2009. “People were looking at how they could save money but it wasn’t the only reason more people shopped there. We made it more attractive for the British shopper, rather than taking the German model and copying it like for like.”
Lidl now has more than 700 stores in the UK and is opening a new one on average every week. It plans to invest £1.45bn in the next two years.