Monday, 20 May 2019 17:01

Lidl closing stores in Rockingham, Kinston; opening 25 more

Written by
Rate this item
(2 votes)
Lidl announced last week that it will close its grocery stores in Rockingham and Kinston and open 25 others, including in Charlotte, Greensboro and Matthews. Lidl announced last week that it will close its grocery stores in Rockingham and Kinston and open 25 others, including in Charlotte, Greensboro and Matthews. Russell Parker - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — As a German-based grocery store chain plans to expand its corporate footprint on the East Coast, it’s closing two North Carolina stores — including the one in Richmond County.

Lidl announced on Friday that as part of its expansion, it would be closing stores in Rockingham and Kinston (Lenoir County). Richmond and Lenoir are both Tier 1 counties, meaning they are among the top 40 most economically distressed counties in the state.

Whispers of the Rockingham location’s closing began circulating Thursday, a day ahead of the official announcement as shoppers said they were told by store employees.

The company plans to open 25 new stores in seven states — North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey — by the spring of 2020 and create more than 1,000 new jobs across nine states, according to a press release.

“We are committed to long-term growth in the United States and always strive to locate in the most convenient locations for our shoppers,” said Johannes Fieber, CEO of Lidl US. “These new stores are part of the next steps in our U.S. expansion. Over the next year, we are excited to introduce more customers to Lidl’s award-winning quality, reliably low prices, and convenient shopping experience.”

Lidl opened the Rockingham store in July of 2017, across U.S. 74 Business from Walmart and right next to its German competitor, Aldi.

A sign on the store’s door reads that the last day of business will be May 26 and encourages shoppers to visit its locations in Indian Trail and Sanford, both more than 55 miles away.

The company said that the employees of the closing stores will have the opportunity to relocate to other stores.

Lidl is also hiring 100 positions for its regional headquarters and distribution center in Alamance County.

The six new stores opening in North Carolina are in more densely populated and higher-income areas: Cary, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Matthews and Wilmington

The company operates 10,500 stores in 29 countries and opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, in 2015.

Many shoppers have expressed disappointment on social media about the store’s closing. 

However, at least they had nearly two years of shopping at the store.

Residents in Eden (Rockingham County) have been waiting two years for a store that will never come.

WFMY reported that, despite construction beginning in 2017, Lidl will not open a store there.

Some have suggested it may have fared better in a different location, rather than be next to two competitors.

“William Harwood with Lidl said the company focuses on sites that can be most convenient for the most customers possible,” the station reported. “After they evaluated the Eden site, the company decided not to move forward with the store.”

Still others in Richmond County are wondering what will happen with the building.

County tax records show the building to be 40,361 square feet. The entire property, including the parking lot and store, are valued at $5.67 million.