Did you know that Lidl is no more in Norway? What happened to Lidl in Norway? Lidl came in 2004 but they sold everything to the competitor super market chain Rema 1000 in 2008 and lost the battle against the Norwegian grocery stores. In this article I want to enlighten you about what happened and also inform you about why its difficult for foreign companies to settle down in Norway which is not part of the European Union aka EU.

Let’s spread some Lidl info first before we explain why Lidl is no more here

Lidl came to Norway in 2004, lost in 2008 - Lidl shop in Nordfjord, lidl is no more in Norway
Lidl shop in Nordfjord

Lidl is a very popular and known low-cost supermarket chain in Europe. They are everywhere almost and now they have even jumped overseas onto the northern American grocery market.

This German discount-retailer got over 7,200 stores in over 20 countries in Europe. The company’s full name is Lidl Stiftung & Co.. KG. The chain was founded as Schwarz Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung in the 1930s and it is important to know that the very first modern Lidl stores opened in 1973.

In the beginning of 2000, Lidl tried to enter the Norwegian grocery market. They really tried hard! Lidl launched their first stores in 2004,  but lost in 2008 after 4 years of battling with the Norwegian people, politicians and media which was negative towards them since before they settled down in Norway. Mostly due to Norwegian’s working laws and the building grocery stores policy.

Lidl came to Norway in 2004 and lost in 2008 to loyal Rema 1000 customers!

On exactly 23th of September 2004  Lidl opened their first stores in Norway in Askim, Floro, Kristiansand, Larvik, Lier, Nordfjordeid of Eid, Os, Sarpsborg, Stord and Ålesund.

As of January 2007, there were more than 50 Lidl stores in Norway. With the exception of four branches on Grønland, Kaldbakken, Grünerløkka in Oslo center and the one at Stavanger Stadion, all of the stores were identical. The Oslo and Stavanger ones had to be opened in buildings already built, as Oslo political rules didn’t allow Lidl to build their own stores. So, Lidl in Oslo and Stavanger was forced to do something drastic. Lidl finally managed to open in Oslo at Grønland, Kaldbakken and Grünerløkka. They were all opened later than the other stores, but because of the huge debates with Oslo politicians. Lidl lost a lot. If Lidl did this from the start, they might have survived in Norway?

Anyway, … The Lidl is known for selling their own brands (EMV), that only Lidl have in their stors worldwide. But this also lead to issues for Lidl . They really wanted to sell cheap milk from Germany in Norway. But the politicians in Norway never allowed Lidl to do this. Politicians in Norway is very at protecting the Norwegian farmers and they still fight this battle even today.

Lidl does this because these goods are cheaper than the more well-known brands. Lidl  however makes quite okay grocery goods that they can sell for a lower price, but still according to the chain itself. Norwegians didn’t like it and went to Rema 1000 instead. Also! Norwegians are mostly skeptic to cheap and new things sold in Norway (going to Sweden is something else…), unless you are from areas with lots of immigrants in Oslo.

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Lidl came to Norway in 2004, lost in 2008 - Map showing Lidl in Europe
Map showing Lidl in Europe

Lidl started their business in 2004, but lost. Why?

Lidl lost in Norway because of the reason that mostly of Norwegians are scared of

  1. Products being Too Cheap
  2. Too strange food
  3. German and not Norwegian food etc.
  4. Many labels in foreign language
  5. packages not very tempting design

People in Norway tend to think that they have so much money, that they rather go to expensive stores that they trust. Now, this mentality is what mostly Norwegians got. And the result is that Lidl is no more here.

People here are so protected by the oil and the social benefits. That people simple ignored Lidl and choosed Rema 1000, Rimi (closed down in Norway in 2016), Kiwi and other stores in Norway. So, Rema 1000 bought Lidl in 2008 and also took over their stores. They bought Lidl for 1.918 milliard Norwegian Kroner (Norways currency).

Updated June 2018: Iceland Foods has arrived to Norway. 

Media in Norway didn’t like Lidl at all. Even before Lidl entered the Norwegian market

The media in Norway like Aftenposten, VG and Dagbladet newspapers were all negative towards Lidl even before they arrived in Norway. They were amazing at hunting down Lidl and how they worked. They blamed Lidl  a lot for workers beeing watched all the time by their CEO’s and the fact that workers got too little in salary.

So, now you might understand a bit more about why Lidl left Norway. This have nothing to do with EU, as they are in Switzerland too. So, if you are an international company want to ride on Norwegians money. You need to investigate, how Norwegians will react. IKEA in Norway did the same thing back in the days when they wanted to enter to Norway. Their store at Nesbru in Norway, was IKEA‘s first store outside of Sweden in 1963. But compared to other countries. IKEA in Norway tended to have red logo, just because they knew Norwegians are nationalistic. They changed finally in the end, and now IKEA is one of the most liked attractions by families in the weekend.

Lidl should have looked into Norway, and they didn’t try to change their policy. Instead they tried to change the Oslo rules for building new buildings in Norways capital. But that took more money and energy from Lidl.

So, Norway is the only country in the world (for now) where Lidl lost the battle. Lidl is no more here.  They intented to make Norway cheaper while they lasted for 4 years. Now, many wants Lidl back to Norway. But will they ever try? …

Rema 1000

Related news: Vapiano closed in Norway.


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