German discount chain enters Estonian market

  • 2004-11-01
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Meeting with members of the Tartu city government on Oct. 27, representatives of the German Lidl discount chain disclosed plans to expand into the Baltic country.

"Lidl representatives came to us with their plans as they do not want to publicize them through the press, yet would like city governments to be informed on what they are doing," Tartu Deputy Mayor Sven Illing told the Baltic News Service.

The deputy mayor added that Lidl was building three stores in Tartu, with planning and design already in progress.

"Representatives of Lidl hinted that they would open stores in Estonia all at the same time, as there was no sense in opening them one by one," Illing said, adding that as Lidl was planning to set up a logistics center for about 200 million kroons (12.8 million euros) in Tallinn, such a strategy was understandable.

Lidl also showed the Tartu city government what its stores would look like. Illing was pleased by the drafts, commenting that they were nicer than other cheap supermarkets.

"Their supermarkets have red tile roofs, not just corrugated iron buildings, and the parking areas are paved with stones," the deputy mayor said.

Lidl, a chain belonging to the German family firm Schwarz Gruppe, runs discount stores with a small selection of goods. Therefore, its clientele should be the same as that of Saastumarket, a leading Estonian chain.

Lidl has more than 4,000 stores in Europe, and is among the world's 20 biggest retail companies.