Lidl and Aldi expand supermarket clash to US

29 June 2017

European discount supermarket giants Lidl and Aldi are both building up their US presence, as a decades-long rivalry crosses the Atlantic. The US food retail market is already embroiled in its own price war, as deflation drives up competitive pressure.

Aldi, known for its low prices and private-label items, is planning to spend $3.4 billion over the next five years to open 900 new locations, the company said Monday. The German supermarket chain has already expanded produce sections and boosted its organic and gluten-free offerings recently in a bid to appeal to a wider range of shoppers. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to spend $1.6 billion renovating its current 1,300 US stores as it attempts to alter its image from that exclusively discount-oriented store.

Aldi’s investment comes as German rival Lidl – who has also made a name for itself by offering inexpensive store-brand products in a no-frills environment– announced the opening of its first U.S. locations in 2017, with plans to open 100 stores by the end of 2018.

According to a recent report from Bain & Company, Aldi is actively positioning itself in the more mainstream grocery segment – which is likely to cause trouble for traditional retailers. The US expansion of the German discount heavy-hitters could put additional pressure on conventional retailers like Walmart and Kroger to lower their prices. Indeed, the report found that 61% of shoppers would try an Aldi if it opened nearby, while 71% said that they would try a Lidl.

Lidl and Aldi expand supermarket clash to US

The new competition in the low-margin industry comes in the midst a deflationary spiral that has seen food prices drop for 17 straight months, the longest such streak in more than 60 years.

Bain & Company, meanwhile, predicts that sales in the so-called “deep discount segment” of the grocery market – which includes Aldi and Lidl – will grow by as much as 10% annually through to 2020, five times higher the predicted growth rate of ‘traditional’ stores.

Aldi says it will have 2,500 stores nationwide by 2022, meaning only Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons – which owns Safeway – would have a greater presence in America. The battle between the grocery retailers is set to grow fiercer, as analysts estimate that newcomer Lidl will open as many as 600 locations in the next five years.

According to Aldi spokesperson Liz Ruggles, however, Lidl’s arrival on the scene will not change how they do business. “We’re doing what we’ve been doing to ensure we’re the low-cost leader,” commented Ruggles. “We’ll continue to maintain that – we’re very diligent.”



US tech consultancy Slalom to open Manchester office

19 April 2019

Slalom is on the move again, this time expanding its UK footprint. The American tech consulting firm has announced plans to open a Manchester office in which it will employ 200 staff by 2025. The firm, which opened a London office in 2014, was formerly known as Slalom Consulting until a 2015 rebranding.

The announcement of the Manchester move follows a January relocation of its more than 700 Chicago-based employees from its office in Chicago’s Prudential Plaza to Aon Center, the third-tallest building in the city. Slalom’s previous space at Prudential was separated between floors, causing inconvenience. The new space at Aon is a marked improvement, in addition to the sheer size difference, with the move nearly doubling the firm’s floor space. The space will also utilize hoteling (scheduled workspaces), project-based workspace, and flexible areas for events and education. Slalom also expanded into Canada in 2016, opening an office in Toronto.

Paul Squire, managing director of Slalom’s London location, will head up the Manchester office. “I’m excited about working with our clients in the North West of England, helping them to deliver people-centric change, bring strategic solutions to life, and ultimately, to love their future,” he said.

Slalom has been one of Fortune 100’s “Best Companies to Work For” for four consecutive years, and has partnerships with powerhouse organizations including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Tableau. It employs more than 6,500 people in 29 offices across North America and the UK.US tech consultancy Slalom to open Manchester office“Manchester is a city of digital enterprise with a wide range of strengths across industries including manufacturing, healthcare, utilities and consumer services; which perfectly complements Slalom’s breadth of expertise,” Dave Williams, UK Country Managing Director, said. "We're looking forward to collaborating with clients to shape their internal capabilities, building a team and investing in the local community."

“Greater Manchester is a hotbed for collaboration and innovation, making it the ideal location for pioneering businesses like Slalom. There are strong complementarities between Slalom and Greater Manchester’s efforts to collaborate with companies going through digital transformation and supporting them to grow within the region. Establishing operations within one of Europe’s largest digital and technology clusters will provide the consultancy firm with ample opportunities to join forces with the rapidly increasing number of world-leading brands that are choosing Manchester,” Tim Newns, chief executive of Manchester’s inward investment agency, added.

In December 2018, the firm launched Slalom Build, a software and tech product “Build-as-a-service” offering that enables companies to build cloud-native software and tech products. While Slalom is headquartered in Seattle, Slalom Build centers can currently be found in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, and Toronto.