Lidl goes Latvia: hopes and fears
Ten years after its first failed bid to enter the Latvian market Lidl is poised to make another attempt, according to media reports. The German food discounter has apparently bought a piece of land in Riga. Lidl has yet to announce any plans, but the news has caused a stir in Latvia's press.
Competition will revive the retail sector
Neatkarīgā is hopeful that Lidl will give Latvia's food retail industry a boost:
“The sector here is unable to effect any significant changes. Which is why it's a good thing if a big EU retail chain comes to Latvia. The idea is that Lidl will boost competition and create the necessary conditions to make the Latvian retail system more fair. ... And it's not the people but the owners of the local chains that should be anxious about Lidl. Because it is already here. Part of the population in the south of Latvia is already shopping regularly at Lithuanian Lidl stores. If Lidl opens stores in Latvia then the inhabitants of Latvia's big cities will be able to enjoy the privileges only Latvians living on the border have now.”
Local producers should be shaking in their shoes
Lidl's market entry in Latvia spells disaster for the local food producers, worries Diena:
“We will probably see very few Latvian products on Lidl's shelves, because our companies are not big enough to be able to supply the entire Lidl network with low-price products in the long term. ... In the years of the economic crisis it finally dawned on us that Latvian produce puts tasty and healthy food on the table and supports local businesses at the same time. ... As a result, in recent years we have been seeing more and more Latvian produce on the shelves. Customers are a lot more savvy these days. But an aggressive policy to drive down prices could put Latvian farmers and producers at risk.”