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Germany: Aldi and Lidl are more dangerous than ever

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Full-service supermarket chain and German market leader Edeka is facing increasing competition from the discounters Aldi and Lidl, because they can now keep up with the (branded) offers of the supermarket. This is a problem for Edeka - among other things because the supermarket can act more slowly than agile due to its corporate structure.

Edeka's corporate structure hinders innovation

“The conservative and persistent ownership structure is slowing the pace of innovation,” market researcher Boris Plane recently told the “Handelsblatt”. He was alluding to the self-employed merchants at Edeka, who are mostly skeptical about innovations and changes.

As a businessman, Jörg Hieber has built up and shaped numerous Edeka stores in Germany. The now 80-year-old was also chairman of the supervisory board of Edeka Südwest and Edeka headquarters. He has recognized the challenges that self-employed merchants have to face, as he reports in an interview with the “Lebensmittelzeitung”.

"Aldi and Lidl have long since left the dirty price corner"

He is not sure whether the Edeka merchants are actually well equipped for the future. "The competition is tough, big competitors like Aldi or Lidl are better and more dangerous than ever," says Hieber. "They have long since left the dirty price corner and have a first-class image." For a full-range supplier like Edeka, it is increasingly difficult to hold their own against such strong companies.

Hieber also believes that supermarkets will have to make better use of space in the future. Concepts with small areas are in demand. “I'm sure the small area is experiencing a renaissance,” he says in the “Lebensmittelzeitung”. "We have to come to the customer with the space," Hieber is convinced.

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