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German grocer Lidl buys more land in Raleigh

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Lidl opened its first Charlotte-area store in September 2017. The Germany grocery story chain had several stores planned or opening in the Triangle, but cancelled plans on one in Cary.
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Lidl opened its first Charlotte-area store in September 2017. The Germany grocery story chain had several stores planned or opening in the Triangle, but cancelled plans on one in Cary.

European grocer Lidl has bought another tract of land in the Triangle – this time in northeast Raleigh.

Lidl paid $1.95 million for a 6-acre property at 4115 Buffaloe Road, at the northeastern corner of the intersection at Buffaloe and New Hope roads, according to deed records.

In a site review application with the city, Lidl outlined plans for a 25,400-square-foot building and 180 parking spaces. It had previously filed for a rezoning of the property.

Lidl declined to speak specifically about the Buffaloe Road property but said it was looking forward to opening more stores in the Triangle.

“We have received a very positive response from customers and look forward to opening more stores in the future,” Lidl spokeswoman Jessica Haggard said. “Currently our real estate teams are looking at a number of sites in the area for future growth, but we are not addressing each individual possibility at this time.”

Lidl already has two stores open in the Triangle – one in Raleigh at 4208 Wake Forest Road and another in Wake Forest at 1120 S. Main St. It also has a store in Sanford.

The grocer has also submitted plans to build a store in Cary, though there is no timeline for when it might open.

Lidl is part of a surge of discount grocers that have increased their presence in the United States in recent years. The German grocer began aggressively expanding in North Carolina last year and has built 16 stores.

That aggressiveness, however, is now being questioned by Lidl leadership. Earlier this year, Klaus Gehrig, CEO of the group that owns the grocery store chain, told the German publication Manager Magazine that the company’s U.S. stores were too big and too expensive.

He also said the company had done a poor job choosing locations and didn’t recognize Americans’ shopping preferences, such as for prepared food. Plans for a few stores in the Charlotte area have either been suspended or seen their progress slowed recently, according to the Charlotte Observer.

There is, however, some evidence that the lower prices offered at Lidl grocery stores causes other grocers to lower their prices, according to a study from UNC-Chapel Hill released earlier this year. The study showed that competing grocers near Lidl stores set prices 9.3 percent lower on average than in markets where Lidl is not present.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes

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