Lidl, with 140 stores in Finland, has growth problems.
”If only the metropolitan area showed some realism it could be 10-15 new stores a year for the next five or ten years,” says CEO Lauri Sipponen.
Lidl’s Finland-CEO has had a lot to say about Alko-establishments and municipal regulations for grocery stores. But currently, Lidl is the most successful grocery chain in Finland. And Alko-stores are opening next to Lidl instead of only Kesko and S-group stores.
Sipponen explains the market growth by Finland and the Finns becoming more international, and Lidl is Finland’s most international grocery store.
”We have to catch the right wave,” CEO Lauri Sipponen summarizes Lidl’s success in an interview with Talouselämä.
Lidl store sales grow so dramatically that the two existing distribution centers are not enough. And there is a constant demand for more stores from customers, according to Lauri Sipponen.
“We have many places with high customer pressure. Shops are full, the parking lots are full and staff restrooms are full. It is difficult to get today’s sales to fit on the shelves,”
Lidl does not intend to close any stores in the network. But Lauri Sipponen says the growth is slowed down by the municipal zoning.
“Finland can hold dozens of more shops more – if only the metropolitan area showed some realism it could be 10-15 new stores a year for the next five or ten years,” says Sipponen to Talouselämä.
Except for metropolitan areas and the big growth centers such as Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Joensuu and Vaasa he also points out smaller cities like Hyvinkää, Riihimäki and Seinäjoki that is interesting for Lidl.
“If the population decreases, it is a bad sign for us. Such localities we do not go to.”