The Lidl grocery store off Route 40 in Bear now has a portable opening soon “teaser” sign that may point to the previously announced fall opening.
After completion of the store last fall, it was announced that the opening would be delayed due to supply chain issues coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
No job openings have yet been posted for the store on Lidl’s site, a sign that an opening might not be coming in the near future. Pay at Lidl starts at $14.50 an hour.
A Lidl spokesperson issued the following: “We are still in the planning phase of the timeline for the store and expect to have more of an update over the coming months.”
The decision to delay the opening was unusual since the store appeared to be ready to go, with cart corrals and extensive landscaping that has been maintained since the fall.
“We have revised our forecasted opening for Lidl Bear to fall 2022. We extended our planning to help mitigate the significant disruptions that Covid-19 continues to have on business supply chains globally. We are confident the new timeline will better position us to serve customers in Bear with excellence over the long term,” Lidl spokesman William Harwood stated last year.
Harwood continued, “We look forward to opening our Bear location next year and deepening our connections in the community as we prepare our beautiful new store for service to our customers.”
Its German archrival is Ald operates with a similar format featuring private label items and a selection of home goods that can include tools and even patio furniture. Aldi recently took space a short drive away at the Christiana Town Center at the former Staples location and opened earlier this year.
Aldi got a head start
Aldi got a four-decade head start over Lidl and now has 2,000 locations nationwide, compared to about 150 for Lidl. Lidl got off to a rocky start in the U.S. and paused expansion for a time as it reassessed store formats and other issues. A distribution center west of Newark in Perryville, MD, remained idle for a time.
Worldwide, Lidl and Aldi each have more than 10,000 stores.
In 2020, Lidl announced a half a billion-dollar investment that would add 50 stores and 2,000 jobs. The Bear store was listed as one of the more than four dozen stores that would open in 2021.
Trader Joe’s, an upscale discount grocer also owned by a German company, opened earlier this year at the Christiana Fashion Center. Trader Joe’s operates another store off Concord Pike in north Wilmington.
Lidl previously opened Delaware stores in Dover and Middletown.
A competitive market
Lidl will enter a competitive market in northern Delaware, with top-rated Wegmans opening a store this fall about 15 miles away from the Lidl site. The Route 40-Christiana area has two Acme stores, two Shoprites, two Food Lions, and a Safeway, in addition to the Aldi and Trader Joe’s locations.
The Bear Lidl is located at the former site of Countryside Nursery.
Lidl has about 150 stores in an area extending from the New York City suburbs to Georgia. In addition, Lidl has Delaware stores in Dover and Middletown. Its U.S. headquarters is in Arlington, VA, outside Washington D.C. This year, the company broke ground on its first store in Washington, D.C.
Lidl is not the only company to push back openings. Despite taking space in a portion of the once-sprawling Burlington store in University Plaza south of Newark, Hobby Lobby announced it does not plan to open at the location until early 2023. Exterior work on the space has been completed.