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Supermarket Chain Lidl Sweeps into Fashion

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

When German supermarket chain Lidl launched womenswear last August in its U.K. stores, few could have guessed the collection would sell out in just three days. Now, the discount grocer is ramping up its apparel efforts in Spring ’15 by expanding its offering to include men’s and children’s clothing and introducing all three bargain basement-priced collections to its 143 Irish stores on Feb. 26.

Jasmine O’Brien of Lidl Ireland described the debut to the Irish Examiner as “classic pieces and chic accessories which can be mixed and matched to create the perfect spring and holiday capsule wardrobe at a fraction of the high street cost.”

Manufactured in China and Bangladesh and available only while stocks last, the on-trend women’s collection includes nautical-striped tops and dresses, boho-chic camis, trench coats and jeans, as well as an array of shoes and jewelry, priced from 5.99 euro ($7) to 24.99 euro ($28). The men’s offering, meanwhile, spans dress shirts to colored chinos to blazers and bomber jackets, all retailing under 24.99 euro, and most kids’ pieces cost less than a tenner (or $11).

Lidl, which is owned by Germany’s third-richest man, Dieter Schwarz, plans to open its first U.S. supermarket in 2018. If its clothing continues to sell well across the pond, it will no doubt present a significant threat to the likes of Target, Walmart and Kmart.

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