Look out, H-E-B

Popular low-price grocery chains plot first Austin-area stores

Popular low-price grocery chains plot first Austin-area stores

Aldi USA Grocery Store
Aldi and Lidl are targeting the Austin 'burbs. Photo courtesy of Aldi

Get ready for a grocery war: Two discount grocers are eyeing the Austin turf currently staked out by H-E-B, Walmart, Whole Foods, and others.

According to media reports, German grocers Aldi and Lidl are plotting their first stores in the Austin area. Aldi reportedly is building a store in Pflugerville, and Lidl is planning a store in Kyle.

No word on how many other stores each company has on the drawing board for the Austin area.

Aldi recently announced it’s undertaking a U.S. expansion, investing $3.6 billion to open 1,200 more stores and investing $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 stores by 2022.

“We’re growing at a time when other retailers are struggling,” Aldi CEO Jason Hart says. “We are giving our customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats, and fresh healthier options across the store, all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores.”

Earlier, Lidl unveiled plans to open as many as 100 stores along the East Coast. The first 20 locations are set for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

“Lidl is grocery shopping refreshed, retooled, and rethought to make life better for all our customers,” says Brendan Proctor, president and CEO of Lidl U.S. “From our selection of sustainable products like our certified fresh and frozen seafood to top-quality wines from around the world available at market-beating prices, our team puts extra effort and attention into each product we put on our shelves.”

Aldi and Lidl already compete in Europe. In Austin, the rivalry between the two discount grocers “will change the whole grocery market” into one focused on low prices, according to food industry analyst Phil Lempert.

In Europe, Aldi and Lidl stores “are very similar,” Lempert tells CultureMap, but Lidl has stepped up its game in the U.S. He says Lidl has “glitzed up” its image here by enhancing store design, offering award-winning wines, and teaming up with fashion designer, TV personality, and model Heidi Klum to sell her new clothing line.

“Aldi has to quickly reimagine themselves in order to keep the millennials who love value and quality, but have had mixed feelings about the Aldi brick-and-mortar,” Lempert says.