Lidl is set to hire 600 staff in €100m expansion

German supermarket chain is chasing middle-class shoppers

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor with Maeve McCleane, HR director of Lidl in Ireland, announcing the supermarket chain’s plans to recruit 600 new employees over the next 24 months. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor with Maeve McCleane, HR director of Lidl in Ireland, announcing the supermarket chain’s plans to recruit 600 new employees over the next 24 months. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

 

Lidl, the German discount supermarket chain, is aiming to cement its growing share of the Irish grocery market by hiring an extra 600 employees over the next two years.

The hires will be split between more staff for its head office functions and new positions for store workers and managers, as Lidl pushes ahead with a €110 million capital investment plan of store improvements and greenfield expansion.

Lidl, which according to Kantar analysts has a share of the Irish grocery market of 11.9 per cent, currently employs about 4,000 staff in the Republic and has 146 stores.

JP Scally, managing director of Lidl Ireland, has said the group is eventually targeting up to 50 new stores in the State, although it expects to open fewer than 10 a year for the next couple of years.

It is currently building new stores at about six locations including Swords, Glenageary and Cabra in Dublin, and Virginia in Co Cavan.

Much of the group’s expansion in Ireland revolves around the rollout of a new concept of store, which it piloted in Gorey, Co Wexford.

Well-heeled shoppers

Aldi

The new concept stores are bigger than Lidl’s traditional outlets and are specifically designed to help it capture more middle-class shoppers, as it attempts to widen its appeal beyond its usual mantra of low prices.

Lidl’s newer stores have, for example, 9ft wide aisles, compared to its traditional aisles of 6ft across, in an effort to make them more comfortable to navigate with trollies.

The grocer has also introduced Lidl Go, a new in-store hot food convenience option. The newer concept stores may also have coffee machines, after a trial of €1 cappuccinos and lattes in Gorey.

Some of its newer stores in built-up locations may also be hitched up to first floor level above easy-access car parks, after its research revealed many shoppers don’t like its underground car parks.

Maeve McCleane, Lidl Ireland’s human resources director, said the 600 new positions are for permanent staff, and are not agency roles.

Retail degree

Ms McCleane said Lidl is also currently looking for 40 deputy store managers across its existing network, as well as 30 graduates for its head office to work across various administrative functions.

Each new Lidl store results in up to 30 new jobs being created. The group is also looking for 15 junior buyers, as the company widens its range of products in the Irish market.

“The need for more buyers is directly linked to our increase in market share,” said Ms McCleane.

The group has not, she said, yet witnessed any difficulties finding new staff in Ireland as the economy improves and the labour market tightens.

According to Kantar, Lidl is the fourth-biggest grocery retailer in the State, after SuperValu, which has a 22.5 per cent share, and Tesco and Dunnes Stores, which both have under 22 per cent.

Lidl is marginally ahead of Aldi, which has a share of 11.2 per cent.