Sharks are circling Coles and Woolworths in Australia, and German cut-price multinational Lidl is the latest to sense an opportunity.
The supermarket chain is due to arrive in Australia soon with a range of own-brand products that is deliberately kept to about 1500 items. Australian shoppers can expect to pay less wherever they shop as competition rises.
If the UK experience is any guide, here’s what Australian shoppers can expect.
Fine booze, lobster and caviar, Serrano ham
To shake off a perception they cut quality to deliver lower prices, Lidl stocked a good range of wine and whisky. They stock champagne from Champagne, France for $20. The last word on whisky, Jim Murray, handed the Lidl brand Glen Orchy five year-old whisky a mark of 88.5 out of 100. Over Christmas the brand traditionally broadcasts its aspirations by selling lobster and Spanish Serrano ham cheaply. It famously wowed shoppers by offering caviar for less than two pounds. Australians should be secretly licking their lips at the chance to buy $16 packets of reindeer steaks.
British week, semana Espana
The UK Lidl stores throw a party from time to time, bringing in a range of products that reflect a country’s typical foods. They’ve turned their stores Spanish, British and Italian.
One of the most popular aspects, if not the most talked about, is that Lidl stores are smaller than mainstream supermarkets. Lidl offers a cut back range of about 1500 products, in part to keep costs down, but the added benefit is shoppers don’t get stuck browsing the shelves and are out in 20 minutes, unless they really like supermarkets.
It will make the big two pedal harder
Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain, has done a Jetstar and launched its own cut-range branches as Netto. If the equivalent market movement happens in Australia there will be a race to offer the core range of products more cheaply. The boss of UK chain Morrisons, Dalton Philips, said the incoming operators have been able to react faster than the larger incumbents.
A day at Lidl is like a walk in the German Alps
Hmm, not really, but diarist Alice Etches wrote of the fun experience of decoding the German brand names on Lidl products, perhaps discovering something new.