Case Studies Lidl
Lidl Launches Expansion into U.S.
Shopping for a U.S. Headquarters and Distribution Location
When global retailer Lidl decided to launch in the United States, disrupting an already competitive grocery market, it operated nearly 10,000 stores in 26 countries throughout Europe. Lidl was looking to establish both a U.S. corporate headquarters and distribution center in proximity to one another in a location that offered strategic domestic and global accessibility, strong market growth opportunities, and a robust labor pool. The nationwide search was on, and Virginia was prepared to present Lidl the best business case to successfully compete for its American home base and major distribution operation.
The Virginia Solution
Unparalleled Access and Talent
Virginia’s central location along the Eastern Seaboard is ideal for both corporate headquarters and distribution – set approximately halfway between Maine and Florida, the Commonwealth is within a one-day (11-hour) drive of 47% of the U.S. population, and 75% lives within a two-day drive.
Virginia homed in on two bordering regions to address Lidl’s requirements. Arlington County, located just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, boasts one of the country’s most educated populations, over 30 million square feet of commercial office space, and vast regional transit options, as well as proximity – less than 40 miles – to three international airports. With multiple Fortune 1,000 companies on its roster, Arlington County is a hub for headquarters and international businesses seeking a U.S. presence that are drawn to the area’s highly educated pipeline of talent. More than 75% of Arlington’s population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, and new graduates from Virginia’s acclaimed higher education system flock to the region annually, ensuring a robust workforce – critical for a company looking to hire 500 employees at its headquarters.
With Arlington County top of mind for Lidl’s U.S. headquarters, Virginia was confident Spotsylvania County – just 60 miles south of Arlington – would be an ideal location for Lidl’s distribution operations. Intersected by Interstate 95 and just over two hours from The Port of Virginia, the region has long served as a cost-competitive center for commerce and the supply chain industry, thanks to its strategic position as a crossroads for highway, rail, and water transportation.
Two New Virginia Addresses
In June 2015, after a competitive and exhaustive search, Lidl announced its initial investment of $202 million to establish operations in Virginia. The investment included $77 million for its U.S. corporate headquarters in Arlington County, creating 500 new jobs, and $125 million for its regional headquarters and distribution center facility in Spotsylvania County, creating an additional 200 jobs.
Lidl’s Growth, Virginia’s Quality Guarantee
Since 2015, Lidl U.S. has surpassed its initial investment and jobs commitment in Virginia, creating over 1,500 jobs in the Commonwealth.
Following the announcement, Lidl created a prototype store in Spotsylvania County to test its U.S. market strategy for more than a year. Lidl's Virginia store prototype, which is approximately 36,000 square feet—over a third larger than Lidl’s largest European store—served as the standard design for all of Lidl's U.S. stores launched.
After announcing Virginia as the home of its U.S. operations, Lidl officially opened its first U.S. stores in Virginia Beach and Hampton in June 2017. Within the first year of operation, Lidl was recognized with more than 500 awards for its premium private-label products in prestigious American product competitions. Lidl was also The Port of Virginia's Shipper of the Year and Beverage Dynamic's 2018 Retailer of the Year.
In just three years, the company opened 103 stores across the Eastern United States. In 2020, Lidl committed to invest more than $500 million to open stores in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. Lidl’s overwhelming success in the U.S. market was again reinforced in 2020 and 2021 when the company was named a Top 3 Supermarket from USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Supermarket. Lidl currently operates more than 170 retail stores in the U.S., with the majority of its locations in Virginia. Home to 33 stores, Virginia represents about 19% of the total number of Lidl retail stores (October 2022).
As the grocer giant expands its footprint across the nation, Virginia is proud to serve as Lidl’s U.S. base for operations and distribution, emphasizing the advantages of the Commonwealth’s strategic location, global and domestic access, supply chain ecosystem, and skilled workforce.