Discount Retail Chain Lidl Austria (owned by Schwarz Group) has reported net sales growth of 2% to around €1.5 billion (US$ 1.65Bn) in its financial year 2021.
The discounter also reported slight growth in market share in this period, which saw it invest €100 million (US$ 110Mn) in modernisation, new buildings and expansion projects. It has already upgraded more than 180 of the current 255 locations to a new store design, and hopes to complete the modernisation of all branches by mid-2023.
Alessandro Wolf, CEO of Lidl Austria said, “The pandemic has further intensified the competitive situation in Austria. We had to make a real effort. In the end, we slightly increased sales and also slightly expanded our market share and that with an almost constant number of our locations and longer closing times due to renovation work.”
Collaboration With Local Producers
Local companies also benefited by collaborating with Lidl Austria, as sales of local goods climbed to €870 million (US$957Mn), of which around €370 million (US$407Mn)was generated from exports to Lidl in other countries. Wolf added, “Our focus remains on regionality and organic quality. Here we have set ourselves the goal of offering every basic item of organic quality. We currently have over 280 organic products, and by the end of 2023 there will be 350.” The retailer aims to expand its offering in the meatless segment to more than 400 products by 2025. “We have developed into a smart discounter. This means that we don't have the largest range, but the right range and attractive branches, all of this at the best price-performance ratio," said Karsten Kremer, head of purchasing and marketing at Lidl Austria.
The company added approximately 150 new products in its range in 2021. Kremer added, "With more than 2,100 products in the permanent range, we are now even more regional, even more diverse, and thus a main shopping centre for daily and weekly family shopping. Our fresh range is significantly broader, as is the organic range.” Sales of organic products were up 20% last year, it said. The company increased the minimum gross salary on a full-time basis for all store employees to €2,090 (US$2,300), which it says is 16% above the collective agreement. This year the retailer plans to test a four-day week for select office jobs. Lidl Austria employs more than 5,800 people across its 250 stores, three logistics centres and central offices.