Lidl, the German discounter that opened in the U.S. in June, experienced a strong surge in traffic when it first began opening stores but then saw that business fade over the summer, according to a report from inMarket.
The research supports previous reports that Lidl’s stores were not performing as well as expected, leading to a shift in management at the company’s headquarters. The company may also be considering tweaks to its format and merchandise, according to report in the Wall Street Journal.
A Lidl spokesman said the company was continuing to pursue new store openings in the meantime.
“We continue to actively pursue sites up and down the East Coast, and we look forward to opening our next stores, including this Thursday in Newport News, Va.,” Will Harwood, the Lidl spokesman, told SN.
According to inMarket, which analyzes mobile location data, Lidl launched with 2.6% share of customer visits in June in the markets in which it operates.
“This is even more impressive, considering the chain launched on June 15,” inMarket said in the report.
The data indicated that Walmart experienced a drop in share of visits to 29%, from 30%, in June, “perhaps as cost-conscious shoppers went to check out Lidl,” the report said.
Target’s share of visits remained flat from May to June at 9.3% in these markets, according to inMarket. Harris Teeter saw its share of visits dip slightly in June and July before recovering somewhat in August and September.
Lidl’s share of visits faded to 2.3% and 1.7% in July and August, respectively, before rebounding to 1.9% in September, according to inMarket.
“I don’t see Lidl as a Fresh & Easy repeat,” said one real estate consultant, who asked not to be identified, referring to Tesco’s failed foray on the West Coast. “But it appears they are having some second thoughts and are resetting their strategies at this point.”