Before Amazon bought Whole Foods, the biggest story in grocery was Lidl’s U.S. expansion. The company opened its first 10 U.S. stores last June, a day before Amazon’s announcement. The discounter, a longtime rival of Aldi in Europe, grabbed market share when it opened in the U.K., and many observers expected the company to shake up the U.S. industry.
So far, it’s been a mixed bag. Lidl has scaled back expansion plans and abandoned some real estate sites. Still, studies have shown that its presence has forced competitors to cut their prices. And that’s exactly the effect predicted by analysts.
“As soon as they open a store everybody in that area drops their prices,” said Mikey Vu, a grocery expert and partner with Bain & Company.