What's In Store

Could low-cost grocer Lidl be opening in Charlotte sooner than expected?

The Charlotte area could get a taste for a new, low-cost grocery chain sooner than expected.

Lidl, the German chain that has already been hosting hiring events in Charlotte, confirmed Wednesday that it plans to open its first 20 U.S. stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia this summer. The Washington Post first reported that the chain’s expansion was ahead of schedule.

Lidl had initially said it plans to break into the competitive U.S. market by 2018. Within a year after its initial U.S. stores opening, Lidl says it will open up to 100 grocery stores throughout the East Coast.

A spokesman for Lidl said the company has not yet established which stores will open first. But it has a few stores planned for the Charlotte area, the Observer has reported, including one on Williamson Road in Mooresville, and another on South Boulevard in South End. Other news outlets have reported about plans for Lidl stores in Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Gastonia.

Lidl (pronounced “Lee-dull,” like “needle”) competes with Aldi, another European discount grocer that has been expanding and remodeling its stores around Charlotte. Experts say Lidl carries a smaller variety of products, and that Lidl shoppers can expect to save about 30 percent on products compared with traditional grocery stores.

“Thanks to the efficient work of our team, we are excited to announce that Lidl will open its first stores in the United States ahead of schedule. We are thrilled to introduce residents across the East Coast to a unique shopping experience,” Brendan Proctor, president and CEO of Lidl US, said in a statement.

Lidl operates more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries. The grocer has been building a regional headquarters in Alamance County, about 55 miles northwest of Raleigh.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta