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Discount grocer Lidl to open 7 Maryland stores

A price comparison a couple of years ago found the German chain's food to be 3% cheaper than rival Aldi, 9% cheaper than Walmart
Credit: Steve Helber, AP
Lidl employee Jessica Donna, center, helps shoppers June 15, 2017, with the Lidl app during the grand opening of one of the first Lidl grocery stores in the United States, in Virginia Beach, Va.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Shoppers will have more competition for their grocery dollar with Lidl's announcement Friday of more than two dozen stores opening on the East Coast in the coming year, including six in Washington's Maryland suburbs.

The discount grocer with stores about a quarter of the size of a typical Giant, Safeway or Wegman's opened its first Maryland store in September in Bowie and its first U.S. stores in June 2017 in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach, Va. But the private German company with its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Va., has fewer than 10 stores in the D.C. metro area.

"We are committed to long-term growth in the United States and always strive to locate in the most convenient locations for our shoppers," said Johannes Fieber, chief executive of Lidl US.

The Maryland stores announced Friday will open in Catonsville, College Park, District Heights, Hagerstown, Lanham and Waldorf plus Nottingham, northeast of Baltimore.

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►  JUNE 2017: America's first Lidl stores open in Hampton, Va. Beach

Consumers could benefit from the competition. According to a 2017 price check of 20 items from Jefferies Financial Group researchers, Lidl was 3% less expensive than Aldi and 9% cheaper than Walmart, the nation's largest grocery retailer.

On Wednesday, Lidl and Boxed.com, an online retailer that specializes in home delivery of bulk items, announced a partnership for Lidl customers in Georgia and New York that includes fresh meat and produce, Forbes magazine reported. The agreement is expected to expand to other states.

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Lidl's closest competitor is Aldi, also a private German company that has been expanding rapidly in the District of Columbia and its suburbs. Aldi, whose U.S. subsidiary is based in Batavia, Ill., now has 20 stores in the D.C. area.

Lidl now has more than 65 stores in nine East Coast states and more than 10,000 stores in 29 countries worldwide, the company said. Aldi has more than 1,800 stores in 35 states and more than 10,000 stores in 19 countries.