RIGA - The main objective of the Lidl supermarket chain in Latvia at the moment is expansion, and that the company currently is in the intensive investment phase, Maciej Urbanski, the head of Lidl Latvija, told LETA in an interview.
Urbanski did not comment on the results of the last financial year of Lidl Latvija, which lasted from March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023, before they are made public, but, according to him, Lidl Latvija also operated with losses in the previous financial year, focusing on investments in the opening of new stores.
"It must be understood that we are in an intensive investment phase, because every new store is an investment project worth several million euros. We are currently focusing on growth, attracting new customers and increasing our market share. Profit is a part of every business, and we will try to achieve it. Our financial year has just ended, there will still be recalculations, and therefore I will talk about specific numbers when they can be revealed, but I want to emphasize that currently our goal is the growth of the network," Urbanski said.
He also noted that the company needs to build an efficient network of stores, because a larger number of stores also allows for a more successful cost structure. "In the long term, we will definitely be a profitable company," added Urbanski.
At the same time, he did not reveal the exact amount of the planned investment, stating that every store requires investments of several million euros, and their exact amount depends on the location of the store, the degree of complexity of the project, the type of building and similar things.
"Currently, three of our stores are in the construction phase, so we can talk about investments of several tens of millions of euros this year," Urbanski said.
He also emphasized that the period of intensive investments will continue for quite some time.
The head of Lidl Latvija reminded that Lidl started operating in Latvia with 15 stores in October 2021, but currently there are 23 stores in the network. There are currently three stores under construction in Riga, which will be opened this year.
Answering the question about the desired number of Lidl stores in Latvia in the next five years, Urbanski stated that it is difficult to say, because each store project is different.
"As an analogy, I can mention the experience of Lithuania, where Lidl started operating in 2016, and currently there are almost 70 stores there. This gives us courage and shows that there is potential here. But I will emphasize again - we evaluate each store project separately. Currently, we are already represented in many areas in Riga, we have also opened stores in other Latvian cities and, for example, we have already opened a second store in Liepaja. Also, we do not forget that there are also smaller cities in Latvia that at the same time are regional centers. Also in such cities we we see potential," said Urbanski.
As reported, turnover of Lidl Latvija last fiscal year that lasted from March 1, 2021, until February 28, 2022, reached EUR 101.423 million, while the company's loss increased 3.4 percent to EUR 53.365 million, according to Firmas.lv.
Lidl Latvija was registered in October 2016, its share capital is EUR 251.5 million, according to Firmas.lv. The sole owner of the company is the German C E - Beteiligungs-GmbH.
Lidl runs more than 11,000 stores in 30 countries. The first Lidl stores in the Baltics were opened in 2016 in Lithuania, in 2021 in Latvia, and in 2022 also in Estonia.