Supermarkets hoping customers will remain loyal following Lidl's arrival

Lidi opens in Tallinn.
Lidi opens in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Once the dust has settled on the entry into the Estonian market of German cut-price supermarket chain Lidl, established competitors say they hope customers will remain loyal and return to their previous stores of choice.

One issue which some of the other supermarkets have highlighted is the lack of locally sourced items in Lidl's product selection, confirmed by Lidl's own website, ERR reports.

Some competitors have questioned the claim that Lidl's prices will be significantly lower, also.

Katrin Bats, a spokesperson for the Rimi chain, said that it takes time for a new market entrant to be taken seriously, while at the same time, Rimi is responding with various offers and promotions.

Bats put the number of products discounted at 5,600.

"Keeping the prices of a classic shopping basket favorable is the norm for almost all retail chains today," Bats said, adding that Rimi has around half-a-million regular customers.

The split between domestic products and those sourced from outside Estonia is around 50-50, Bats added, and said that product selections was based on consumer demand.

As to the future, Bats said expressed hope that Rimi customers would remain loyal after the buzz surrounding Lidl died down.

Maxima spokesperson Tiia Schapel said that while Lidl's launch was certainly generating interest, the selection of local produce was also in Maxima's favor.

Schapel said: "We believe that our customers. and Estonians generally. prefer local products. We are constantly increasing the share of domestic goods in our product range and offering high-quality domestic products at very reasonable prices. Thanks to good cooperation with Estonian producers, the lion's share of dairy, meat and also bakery products are of domestic origin."

Schapel put figures of the domestically-sourced component in its dairy and meat selection in the 70-percent range.

Schapel also disputed claims that Lidl prices were lower than those of competitors, giving the example of bananas, which she said had already been available at €0.39 per kilo in Maxima when Lidl cut its per-kilo banana price to the same level.

Prisma highlighted its wide selection in the light of Lidl's opening.

"We have a strong selection of products at a favorable price and in a comfortable and safe shopping environment, which we hope that our customers will appreciate," spokesperson Kaimo Niitaru told ERR.

Niitaru cited gluten-free and lactose-free products as examples of those goods which have received good customer feedback, both on availability and price.

Lidl's long-awaited grand opening in Estonia took place on Thursday. The chain has eight outlets nationwide.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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