Lidl entrance David Keith Courtesy of Lidl
Lidl entrance David Keith Courtesy of Lidl

What's In Store

Surveying the retail landscape in the Charlotte region and beyond

What's In Store

What’s the latest on Lidl’s expansion into Charlotte?

By Katherine Peralta

kperalta@charlotteobserver.com

August 24, 2017 04:31 PM

The German grocer Lidl opened its tenth North Carolina store Thursday in Thomasville, about 70 miles northeast of Charlotte. With several other locations under construction nearby, readers keep asking: When will Lidl finally open in Charlotte?

The grocer, which boasts low prices similar to Aldi’s, is wrapping up construction on stores in Rock Hill, Indian Land and Gastonia – all locations that should open within a few months. When I asked Lidl again Thursday about the openings, the grocer didn’t offer any specifics.

Lidl also won’t say why construction seems to have halted completely on a South Boulevard site. Records show Lidl bought the property at 3229 South Blvd. for $4.9 million in January 2016.

Since then, apartments and other buildings were cleared, but progress on the site slowed in recent months and the property has become overgrown. “We haven’t forecasted any specific timelines for this site,” spokesman Will Harwood told the Observer in June.

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A colleague recently described the look of Lidl stores as “artistic airport hangars.” They’re about 20,000 square-feet, about half the size of a typical supermarket like Harris Teeter.

The stores are no-frills: Lidls have just six aisles, and a more limited selection of groceries than you’d find at a traditional supermarket.

Most are private-label brand, which means they’re made just for Lidl and are much cheaper than national brand items. Lidl says its prices are up to 50 percent lower than those at other traditional grocery stores.

Lidl also boasts an extensive, sommelier-curated wine selection with about 125 different varieties, ranging in price from $2.69-$27.99. The grocer has said the goal is to provide a broad palette of wines to choose from, organized in such a way that “lay drinkers” can navigate.

Lidl says it plans to have 100 U.S. stores open within a year. Elsewhere in North Carolina, the grocer has stores in Kinston, Greenville, Wilson, Sanford, Rocky Mount, Winston-Salem, Wake Forest, Rockingham and Thomasville.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta