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Business

German Discounter Lidl Plans to Enter US Market

German discount supermarket Lidl plans to expand to the US and Switzerland, part of a strategy aimed at overtaking rival Aldi.

Woman carrying shopping bags from Lidl and Aldi

Lidl hopes expansion can help it overtake rival Aldi

The last time German discounter Lidl was in the news, it was amid a scandal earlier this year, when it was exposed for secretly spying on its employees in a bid to stop shoplifting.

Now, the CEO of Lidl's parent company Schwarz Gruppe, Klaus Gehrig, says the concern plans to expand into the United States and Swiss markets.

Taking on Aldi

He told the weekly newsmagazine Focus the group was "preparing to enter" the US.

A sign from Lidl.

The last time Lidl made news, it was for spying

Lidl is Germany's second biggest discounter, after its archrival Aldi. It aims to get a US foothold by 2012 while it builds up its European business, Gehrig said.

He said the company also had Switzerland in its sights and planned to have 80 supermarkets there by 2009.

Lidl plans to add 1,000 new stores in Germany, bringing it up to a total of 4,000 -- nearly the same number of stores Aldi has. Gehrig did not provide a timeframe, however.

Turnover at Schwarz, which also owns the Kaufland retail chain, climbed 5.8 percent in 2007 to 50 billion euros ($79 billion.)

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