Competition Authority glad Lidl entering Estonian market

Lidl operates thousands of stores across much of Europe.
Lidl operates thousands of stores across much of Europe. Source: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters/Scanpix

Once German discount supermarket chain Lidl finally enters the Estonian market, competition between supermarket chains will further increase, meaning more choices and better prices for consumers, said Katrin Tasa, deputy director of the Supervisory Department of the Competition Authority, on Vikerraadio's "Vikerhommik."

Currently, 70 percent of Estonia's retail market is controlled by four retail chains.

"The retail market is highly competitive, and with the arrival of Lidl, it will become even more competitive," Tasa said. "The Competition Authority is happy about every newcomer. Considering Lidl's concept, they should also be bringing lower prices with them."

She believed that Lidl will earn its market share in Estonia at the expense of each other existing chain. "As their concept is one of a discount retail chain, then first and foremost from those chains whose clients are the most price-sensitive," she added.

According to Tasa, however, it is difficult to predict how large a market share Lidl will end up commanding in Estonia. In Lithuania, for example, where Lidl opened its first store in 2016, the German chain currently commands a 7 percent market share. In Finland, meanwhile, where the chain has been operating for 15 years, Lidl's market share is around ten percent.

She believed Lidl's success in Estonia will depend partly on whether the chain decides to offer domestic products in its stores, but noted that the German chain will surely bring new products to Estonia that other chains do not currently offer.

It has been a long time since a large, international retail chain like Lidl has entered the market in Estonia. According to Tasa, nothing more can be said for certain about other potential newcomers at the moment, but there have been rumors that French retailer Auchan is weighing expansion to Estonia as well.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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