Discount Retail Chain Lidl Serbia's (owned by the German Schwarz Group) Logistics Center in Lapovo will cover 57,000 square meters, which is more space than our first Logistics Center, and will have the capacity to store more than 35,000 pallet places with 5 temperature regimes and 130 loading and unloading ramps. In addition to the obvious importance for the business of our company, this investment is also important for the domestic economy, because during the execution of such an important project, only domestic construction companies will be engaged.
The director of central services at Lidl Serbia, Dragan Čigoja, speaks for Retail Magazine about Lidl's business in Serbia and the importance of opening a new distribution center in Lapovo, both for the company itself and for its partners, customers and the community. We are approaching the third year of Lidl Serbia's business. We see a strong expansion and business with more than 50 modern retail facilities.
What would see as the largest success for Lidl on the Serbian market?
As we announced opening the first Lidl stores, we came to the Serbian market to stay and grow together with him. During the previous three years, thanks to the great trust of consumers, our store chain has expanded, so that today residents of as many as 32 cities in Serbia can make their purchases in Lidl stores.
What sets Lidl Srbija apart from the others is the best price-quality ratio, which was the key thing in positioning the brand itself on the Serbian market. Our consumers have recognized the commitment and perseverance in our efforts to offer them a unique shopping experience, and we, through fair cooperation with proven domestic and foreign suppliers, strive to make products tailored to their wishes and needs.
In order to get as close as possible to consumers in the central city zones, Lidl has found the appropriate format for Lidl City stores. When could such a format appear in Serbia as well, and where do you see the greatest potential for opening a market of such a format? When we talk about a long-term expansion strategy, the center of urban areas is just as attractive to us as locations outside the city, because we want to please as many consumers as possible with our carefully selected range. As in every country in which our company operates, in Serbia we are focused primarily on listening to the market and adapting to local needs. At this point in our development, the standard concept of wallets has proven to be a solution that both our consumers and we as a company can be very satisfied with. In any case, if in the future there is a need for the Lidl City concept in our country, we will certainly meet the wishes and needs of consumers.
What will another Lidl investment in which 70 million euros will be invested bring?
Our new Logistics Center in Lapovo will cover 57,000 square meters, which is more space than our first Logistics Center, and will have the capacity to store more than 35,000 pallet places with 5 temperature regimes and 130 loading and unloading ramps. In addition to the obvious importance for the business of our company, this investment is also important for the domestic economy, because during the implementation of such an important project, only domestic construction companies will be engaged. Also, in the municipality of Lapovo, we will employ about 250 new colleagues who are expected to have a warm and cordial working atmosphere. In addition, some of the positive effects of this investment at the local level are already visible, such as almost 2 km of built access roads with the most modern infrastructure and arrangement of Liparski potok along the entire length of the plot.
Lidl Serbia logistics center DC Lapovo is the largest investment of Lidl in Serbia so far. Which stores do you plan to cover with the new center and when could it officially start operating at full capacity?
The construction is planned to last 12 months, followed by the phase of placing the Logistics Center in working order, then the testing phase and we hope that after that fresh and high quality products from this Logistics Center will arrive daily on the shelves of Lidl stores throughout Central and Southern Serbia. Your first Logistics Center is the largest facility of its kind in Southeast Europe that holds a LEED Gold certificate.
Do you adhere to high standards of sustainable construction even during the construction of the facility in Lapovo?
As a socially responsible company, Lidl, in addition to economic ones, always considers environmental aspects, so the Logistics Center in Lapovo will not be an exception, but only a continuation of our regular practice. One of the proofs in support of that is the fact that our first Logistics Center is the largest facility in Southeast Europe with a LEED Gold certificate, and the first of its kind in Serbia. This certificate actually guarantees that the highest standards in construction are taken into account during construction, such as energy savings, efficient water use, waste reduction as well as the use of sustainable construction materials.
We aim to make our new Logistics Center in Lapovo one step better, and that is obtaining the LEED Platinum certificate. There are still many environmental areas that we have taken care of and which will be discussed when we open the doors of our second Logistics Center in Lapovo, but one of the things I would especially like to point out is that solar panels will be installed on the roof of the future logistics center. from which the facility will be partially supplied with energy, thus saving electricity consumption.
How many domestic companies do you cooperate with in building the retail network and are you satisfied with the cooperation?
Our goal is to create long-term partnerships, and we always work to establish and develop cooperation with business partners, which we support with a fair relationship, joint promotion, but also socially responsible projects and activities. How satisfied we are with the cooperation with domestic partners so far is best shown by the fact that more than 35 exclusively domestic design, supervisory and construction companies have been engaged in the project of building the Logistics Center in Lapovo. Since the beginning of business in Serbia, the company has positioned itself very well in Belgrade with a large number of stores.
Bearing in mind that the Belgrade market can be observed separately from the rest of Serbia, how many facilities would cover the entire market in the capital?
Lidl always strives to grow and develop in accordance with the needs of consumers, so when it comes to Belgrade, we recently opened another store in the municipality of Mladenovac, and soon after that, we opened our doors to consumers in Karaburma.
At the moment we have 15 stores in the capital, we do not have precise estimates of exactly how many more there will be, but what is quite certain is that our plan is further expansion which will meet the needs of the largest possible number of consumers, since their trust, which is growing day by day, this is exactly what it indicates.
What will be the priorities of Lidl Serbia in the coming period when it comes to the expansion sector?
We strive to be better at implementing innovative solutions in green building, as evidenced by the fact that more than 40 of our stores are certified EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), awarded by IFC, an international financial institution that is a member of the World Bank Group. We are also working to install innovative and even more efficient energy-saving solutions at some of the future Lidl stores and to provide electric chargers for electric and hybrid vehicles. We continue to work hard to expand our network, tirelessly search for new locations, build and open the doors of Lidl stores to consumers. As we have already stated, we are here to grow together!