* Lidl holds hiring events for store managers and
* Lidl expected to open 120-150 stores on East Coast
* Lidl U.S. sales seen at almost $9 bln by 2023 -Kantar
By Emma Thomasson
BERLIN, Dec 13 German discounter Lidl, which has
expanded rapidly in Europe to become one of the continent's
biggest retailers, has started a recruitment drive in the United
States ahead of its expected launch in the country in 2017 or
Lidl held a hiring event for store managers in North
Carolina on Monday and is inviting potential store supervisors
to another event in Fairfax, Virginia on Wednesday.
"We have landed in America and we are searching for
talented, friendly and dynamic people to grow with us," Lidl
said on its careers website. "We are bringing a brand new fresh
shopping experience to our American shoppers."
Lidl, which runs more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries in
Europe, is expected to open its first 120-150 stores on the East
Coast as early as the end of 2017, potentially increasing
pressure on mainstream retailers like Kroger and Wegmans.
German discounter rival Aldi, which opened its first U.S.
store in 1976 and now runs 1,600, is also growing fast in the
country, both under the Aldi banner and Trader Joe's. Planet
Retail forecasts Aldi will add another $5 billion of sales by
2020 to the $10 billion it recorded in 2015.
Holding a passport is among the requirements in Lidl's job
descriptions posted for store managers as successful candidates
will be expected to travel to Europe as part of a six-month
"It's probably best to think about market impact on a
localised level, as it will take many years for it to build any
national scale," said David Gordon of consultancy Planet Retail.
Lidl is currently advertising 75 vacancies in the United
States on its website, with most of the positions at its
Arlington, Virginia headquarters, including experts in real
estate and human resources, plus one German language teacher.
It is looking for properties in East Coast states between
Pennsylvania and Georgia, with 80 sites under consideration or
construction already, according to Planet Retail.
Lidl was not immediately available to comment.
Lidl could exceed $2 billion in sales by the end of its
second full year of operations and almost $9 billion by 2023,
consultants Kantar Retail forecast. It expects Lidl to have over
400 stores up and down the East Coast within a few years.
Lidl and Aldi have become giants by keeping prices low with
a strategy of selling mostly own-brand goods in no-frills stores
with minimal staff.
However, both chains have struggled recently in their home
market as German shoppers have shifted to mainstream
supermarkets, prompting the discounters to offer more brands and
invest in sprucing up their stores, while also expanding abroad.
Lidl saw its sales rise 9.5 percent to 64.6 billion euros
($68.7 billion) in the fiscal year to the end of February. The
Schwarz group that owns Lidl and the Kaufland hypermarket chain
plans to invest 6.5 billion euros in the current fiscal year.
Based in Neckarsulm in southern Germany, Lidl is owned by
Germany's richest man, Dieter Schwarz, son of the company's
founder Josef Schwarz.
($1 = 0.9407 euros)
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by David Evans)