European grocer eyes Lake Norman site in Mooresville

A Lidl store in Italy
A Lidl store in Italy Lidl

Lidl, a major European discount grocer with nearly 10,000 stores in 26 countries, plans to open a Lake Norman location in Mooresville as it enters the U.S. market.

MGP Retail Consulting LLC, a real estate affiliate of the German grocer, is seeking a rezoning of 4 acres on Williamson Road for a 36,170-square-foot grocery store, according to MGP’s application with the Mooresville Planning Department.

The Mooresville Planning Board is scheduled to consider the rezoning request at 6 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall, 413 N. Main St. The planning board makes recommendations to the Mooresville Board of Commissioners, which has scheduled a public hearing and vote on the rezoning for 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at Town Hall.

The site is on the east side of Williamson Road, across from the Morrison Plantation retail and residential community.

As part of its entry into the U.S., Lidl plans to open a regional headquarters and distribution center in Alamance County and create 200 jobs over the next three years, the (Raleigh) News & Observer reported in July.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s office announced at the time that Lidl plans to invest more than $125 million in Graham, about 55 miles northwest of Raleigh.

Lidl’s German parent company, the Schwarz Group, is preparing to enter the U.S. market in 2018, the newspaper reported.

Lidl’s stores are expected to compete with other discount chains in the U.S., including German rival Aldi, Save-A-Lot, dollar stores and Wal-Mart, according to the News & Observer.

“North Carolina provides a talented workforce, a strategic location and market opportunities which presents an incredible opportunity as Lidl prepares its expansion in the United States,” Brendan Proctor, president and CEO of Lidl US, said in a statement when the company announced the Alamance County regional headquarters.

Lidl announced in June that it will invest $202 million to establish operations in Virginia, including a $77 million investment in its U.S. corporate headquarters in Arlington County. Lidl’s arrival will create 500 new jobs at its Arlington location.

Supermarket News reported that Lidl was seeking to expand in the U.S. because it was nearing saturation in many European markets.

Lidl US spokesman John Froman declined comment on the company’s Mooresville plans Tuesday.

“Lidl is in the early stages of preparation to operate in the United States,” Froman said in a statement. “We are taking steps toward that effort. However, we are not able to comment further at this time.”

Staff Writer Kathleen Purvis contributed.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak