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USA: Lidl urban store a success in New York’s Harlem

Updated: Apr 25, 2022

Discount Retail Chain Lidl USA (owned by the German Schwarz Group) opened an urban store in New York’s Harlem. While most Lidl stores are in suburban locations, this store, on Frederick Douglas Blvd., is in a densely populated area. It is the company’s first store in Manhattan and its 24th in New York State.

The store is on two levels in a high-rise building, with an expanded lower-level area. Lidl spent over US$5 million to develop the store model for this setting, and it is easy to shop. Convenience items are on the main floor while the bulk of grocery items are on the lower level. There is also a general merchandise section on the lower level.

Lidl’s policy of very low prices continues to amaze. It is especially important since the merchandise is of high quality and often includes recognized national U.S. brands. Whether it is Angus beef for 4.49/lb. or four 32 oz. bottles of Coke for US$5, or grapes for US$0.99/lb., the low-priced specials are attracting customers and business was brisk on a recent Wednesday afternoon. The low prices were reinforced by a display of two shopping carts comparing Lidl’s prices with Whole Food’s prices. Lidl’s prices were over US$50 lower than its grocery competitor for the same items. According to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School, prices on Lidl’s wine assortment were up to 45% lower than other nearby grocers as well.

As I walked through the store, I noted specialty foods from various countries including France and Italy, and of course Germany, the home of Lidl. To me, a special section of the store was the bakery; it offers breads, pastries and others items baked throughout the day. As a result, the store smells like a fresh bakery when you enter.

The store is newly fitted out with an easy-to-shop layout that will mean a faster and more convenient shopping experience for customers. I was told that the EPA recognized Lidl stores for their environmentally-friendly design. The only suggestion I have: that the check-out associate might have thanked me for shopping at Lidl.

Lidl has teamed up with both the Food Bank for New York City and the Community Kitchen and Pantry in Harlem to be a supportive new business in the community.

Very talented art students created unique designs for a limited edition tote bag celebrating the opening. Ella Alburez (age 13), Marley Ablurez (age 15), Guadelupe Mejia (age 14), Aralanna Hoover Lluesma (age 14) and illustrator A.K.Lovelace (who is a professional comic book artist) designed illustrations for the tote bags. They are for sale in the store and revenues are to benefit Food Bank and Community Kitchen and Pantry in Harlem.

Lidl, a German company owned by the Schwarz Gruppe, operates over 11,500 stores worldwide. It is active in 32 countries and employs more than 341,000 associates. It opened its Arlington, Va. headquarters in June 2015 and opened the first U.S. store in 2017. There are now more than 175 stores in the United States.

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