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Amid reports of slow sales, German grocery giant Lidl is dramatically scaling back plans for the U.S. market. The company’s CEO even told a German business magazine that the chain’s move into America was “a single mistake.”

Lidl has opened 48 stores in six Eastern states since entering the market in summer of 2017. The company had planned to open a total of 100 stores by this summer, but new plans call for another 20 to be opened this year.

Locations planned for Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania have reportedly been scrapped or abandoned. Construction on a new store in Mooresville, NC has been suspended A company spokesperson says other locations are planned for the coming months in the U.S. but those locations have not been announced.

And the new Lidl stores that do open will be smaller than what American consumers have seen thusfar — the first ones were double the size of their European counterparts.

Klaus Gehrig, CEO of the group that owns the grocery store chain, recently told a German magazine that the U.S. locations are too large and too expensive. He also said the company did not choose locations well and failed to understand American shopping preferences before opening here.

Lidl came on like gangbusters in the U.S. in a challenge to German discounter Aldi, which already has a well-established presence here.

The company’s U.S. debut has not been without successes — a market study released earlier this month by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill showed that competitors lowered prices by an average of 9 percent in areas where a Lidl opened.

Lidl operates 10,000 stores in 28 European countries and plans to open 100 in its first year in the U.S. About 90 percent of the items offered are store brands and the company is promising prices as much as 50 percent lower than U.S. competitors.

Last June, Aldi countered Lidl’s coming to America by announcing a $5 billion investment to expand to 2500 stores in the U.S. by 2022. When that project is completed, Aldi will be the third largest retailer in America, behind only Wal-Mart and Kroger.

WHILE YOU WERE WORKING

Here’s what else was going on in the produce world while you were working this week:

Farm-To-School Programs Effectively Increasing Fruit And Vegetable Consumption

It’s one thing to offer students fruits and vegetables for school lunch; it’s another for them to actually eat them. Children who attend schools with Farm to School programs eat more fruits and vegetables, new University of Florida research shows. READ MORE

USDA Bans Tampa’s J&R Produce For PACA Violations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited J&R Fresh Produce LLC, operating out of Tampa, Fla., for failure to pay for produce. The infractions carry a two-year ban from the industry for those involved. READ MORE

PFK’S ‘Power Your Lunchbox’ Promises To Re-inspire Families In 2018 

The Power Your Lunchbox Promise by Produce for Kids®, which runs through Feb. 18, urges families and schools across the U.S. to promise to eat more nutritious lunches and make healthy choices when returning from winter break. As New Year’s resolutions are top of mind, the program will serve as the resource for families looking to be make a resolution they can keep with registered dietitian-approved lunchboxes, snacks and easy weeknight dinners featuring fresh produce. READ MORE

Peach Giant Titan Farms Adds New Faces

The premier grower, packer and shipper of peaches in the Eastern United States, Titan Farms of Ridge Springs, SC, announces further expansion of its sales team as it promotes Tonya Conaway and welcomes Tammy Condrey in preparation for the 2018 peach season. READ MORE

Southern Produce Distributors Hires Operations Manager

North Carolina’s Southern Produce Distributors, Inc., a leading provider of high quality sweet potatoes, announced the addition of Heath Johnsey as the new operations manager. READ MORE

 

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