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As Lidl halts plans for local store, grocery industry sees saturation

German grocery store chain Lidl has halted plans to open a store in Beavercreek, an indication of the vastly changing grocery industry that is impacting area businesses like Kroger, Dorothy Lane, Dot’s Market and Whole Foods.

The slowing expansion of Lidl stores shows the saturation of grocery options for consumers. Now more than ever, shoppers have a plethora of options to choose from including grocery delivery services. Major grocers — including Kroger, Meijer, Whole Foods, Aldi, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Costco — have all added stores to Southwest Ohio within the past several years, and are battling to get customers through the doors.

Lidl, which first opened stores in the U.S. last year, submitted a land development application to the Beavercreek Planning Commission in October. Lidl asked to the table application request at the planning commission meetings in November and December, and then withdrew the application in December.

» MUST-READ BUSINESS NEWS: German grocery retailer Lidl looks to expand in Ohio

Lidl was originally seeking to a build a grocery store on a lot on the southwest corner of North Fairfield Road and Lakeview Drive. The proposed site of the Lidl grocery store is near the ALDI grocery store, which opened at 2451 Lakeview Drive in Beavercreek in December 2016. The ALDI spans 18,500 square feet, and offers discounted prices on grocery items. Lidl is also known for its private labels and innovative store layouts — and it even sells “fashionable but casual” clothing.

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In recent months, the chain has halted construction on some projects around the U.S. In December, it stopped construction on its second New Jersey store due to “budgetary constraints,” according to NJ.com. The News Leader reported that Lidl was backing out of a planned store in Staunton, Va., because the company was no longer interested in building in smaller markets.

» INITIAL REPORT: German grocery retailer Lidl looks to expand in Ohio

While Lidl would’ve offered consumers something new in the area, all grocery chains are heading toward a similar direction — experimenting with new ways to make grocery shopping easier for customers. The supermarkets and grocery industry have a major impact on local economies, and brought in $612 billion in revenue nationwide last year. More than 2.6 million people were employed by the industry in 2016 as well.

“Once a competitor has matched Lidl on a certain point of value, Lidl’s already adapted to become something else,” Mike Paglia, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, told fooddive.com. “They’re a moving target that way.”

» RELATED: 5 big changes Kroger is bringing to area stores

Kroger will roll out its “Scan, Bag, Go” service to 400 stores in 2018. The service allows shoppers to avoid long checkout lines by scanning barcodes of items they want to buy using a handheld scanner or through Kroger’s “Scan, Bag, Go” app on any smartphone.

When customers are finished shopping, they can stop at a self-checkout to pay for their order. Soon, shoppers will be able to pay through the app instead. The concept isn’t new for Kroger. The company has been testing the technology since 2011. Kroger then launched it in an additional 15 stores in 2015, including stores in Middletown and Liberty Twp.

Other changes include lowered prices at Whole Foods after it was acquired by Amazon.com. Dorothy Lane Market launched a new pizza ordering app, where customers can place an order for dine-in or carryout from the market’s pizza stations. Both Meijer and Dot’s Market are offering grocery deliver too.

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