The German retailer Lidl announced yesterday that it would introduce a new fashion range in addition to its existing offering of basic clothing, which includes underwear, t-shirts and some children’s clothing. This will be seen as a direct challenge to the existing ranges of its competitors, such as George by Asda and Tesco’s F&F brand.
Lidl’s latest move highlights its continued determination to increase its presence in the UK, eating into the market share of established supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s. The collection, which will begin as a female-only range, will attempt to beat the other supermarkets on price, offering jeans for £6.99 and even a leather jacket for only £14.99. From November, the range will include menswear.
Josie Stone, non-food buying manager at Lidl, said: “Not only are these jackets bang on trend for this season but they’re also £15 a pop, which is unbeatable value for such high quality. So we’d advise customers to be quick getting down to stores on 25th because they’re likely to be snapped up very quickly”.
The popularity of the brand does not appear to be simply the creation of Lidl’s PR team. A poll in the Daily Mirror yesterday showed that over 80% of those who voted would be prepared to buy their clothes at Lidl. Furthemore, supermarket clothing ranges are a tried and tested money spinner. Asda, for example, recently announced that it has overtaken Marks & Spencer as the second biggest retailer of clothing by volume in the country.
The news comes less than a month after Lidl’s fellow newcomer Aldi released its range of equestrian clothing in an attempt to gain the custom of the middle classes. Undercutting traditional outfitters of equestrian equipment, Aldi offers the basic kit for a total of £50, less than half the cost of the same clothing on the high street.
Not only will this latest move affect the sales of its rival supermarkets, but Lidl also hopes to challenge budget high street clothing stores such as Primark and New Look. Glen Tooke, an analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Discount supermarkets have a history of disrupting the fashion market”, and Lidl do not appear to be showing any signs of bucking this trend.
Parent company of Lidl, the Schwarz Group, has ambitious plans for the UK. Ronny Gottschlich, the UK managing director, recently claimed that he wants to lead Lidl into the “new era” of UK supermarkets, enlarging the business from its existing 600 stores to 1,500.