Cary, NC – Cary’s grocery store landscape was going to change once again as German chain Lidl planned to open a store on NC-55. But now, the company is changing its plans and is canceling projects across the United States, including Cary.
Lidl has had plans in place for grocery store locations along Harrison Avenue, the intersection of Tryon Road and Kildaire Farm Road and a store along NC-55 and McCrimmon Parkway. But officials with the Town of Cary said earlier this week, they were informed Lidl is no longer looking at the NC-55 location.
Whether or not those other plans are going forward is unclear, as Lidl said in a statement that they are still interested in Raleigh but, “currently, our teams are looking at a number of sites in the area for future growth. However, it is early in that process and we are not addressing each individual one at this time.”
Earlier this year, in an interview with German magazine Manager Magazin, Schwarz Group CEO Klaus Gehrig said fewer than half of Lidl’s planned U.S. stores would open in the next year. The Schwarz Group owns Lidl.
In that interview, Gehrig said the American division of the company picked bad locations, made their planned stores too big and were not matching American customer tastes and shopping preferences. On the size question, the planned store in Cary would have been 36,000 square feet while the average European Lidl is around 20,000 square feet.
Gehrig also characterized the American expansion as a “singular catastrophe.” He was replaced as CEO this past May.
While Cary shoppers will not see Lidl in that part of town, the consequences will reverberate beyond this town as the real estate group Leon Capital Group is suing Lidl over the cancelled stores in Cary, Charlotte and Wilmington. The lawsuit alleges Lidl had agreements for around 400 stores but only planned to open fewer than half. Both Lidl and Leon Capital Group said they will not comment on pending litigation.
Cary shoppers may also be interested in a UNC-Chapel Hill study suggesting “grocery retailers located near Lidl stores in the U.S. set their prices for key staple products by up to 55 percent lower compared to markets where Lidl is not present.”
You can also look at other markets and specialty stores around Cary and Morrisville that we have written about.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Michael Biermann.