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"Lidl" returns to Baltics

RIGA, April 3  - German discount supermarket chain "Lidl" plans to start building the first stores in Latvia already in the near future, newspaper "Biznes&Baltija" reports.

"At the moment we are looking for real estate for the construction and development of our stores," "Lidl" representative Daina Balcuniene tells the newspaper, adding that the public will be informed later as to when the first "Lidl" stores will open in Latvia.

Although "Lidl" representative Stephal Kruckel previously said that the company was not planning to open stores in Latvia, "Biznes&Baltija" reminds that former Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Kazys Starkevicius said last year that "Lidl" was planning to build a distribution center in Kaunas that would serve the entire Baltic region.

"Lidl" originally planned to enter the Baltic market in 2003 but later changed its mind and sold all land parcels bought in the Baltic countries, explaining that the Baltic market was too small.

The company nevertheless made a good profit in Latvia, without even opening a single store, because it sold the properties bought in Latvia at profit. "Lidl Latvija" total profit in 2006-2008 amounted to LVL 7.2 million, according to "firmas.lv" data.

Part of "Lidl" properties were acquired by Estonian chain stores "A-Selver", which also had to leave Latvia eventually due to the economic crisis.

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