Thinking big at Lidl
Gordon Cruikshanks has worked his way up from trainee area manager at Lidl to head of sales operations. He tells Neighbourhood Retailer the secrets behind the region’s fastest growing supermarket.
With a decade of in-store experience Gordon knew the Lidl sales model well – great produce at prices cheaper than any rivals – but in 2016 the opportunity came to take the next big career step.
“One of the best things about working for Lidl Northern Ireland is the training and development opportunities and I was fortunate to get the opportunity to explore another side of the business working in the facilities team in 2016,” he said.
“An opportunity then came up to step into an executive role in the largest region in the Republic, where I was one of two sales operations executives. In November last year I had the opportunity to return home and take up the sales executive role in Nutts Corner.”
In a little over 20 years Lidl has grown from one to 171 stores in the Republic and 41 in Northern Ireland, the most recent of which opened at Hillview Retail Park on the Crumlin Road in July this year.
Having witnessed much of that expansion Gordon is in no doubt about the secret behind the brand’s success.
“We have always strived to offer customers the best quality products at the lowest possible price – and we have stuck to that promise,” he explained.
“Efficiency and simplicity is in our company DNA. We don’t stock four different types of digestive biscuit – we find the best quality product for the customer and make sure we can deliver it at a price cheaper than any competitors.
And in an age when online ordering is being blamed for killing the high street, Gordon is proud of Lidl’s continuing physical growth and the fact its success has bolstered other businesses around it.
“We very much see ourselves as a bricks and mortar retailer,” he told Neighbourhood Retailer.
“We know there is continuing demand for new stores to open based on the exceptionally positive feedback from recent announcements regarding plans for additional stores in the greater Belfast area and the Northwest. Lidl is consistently confirmed as ‘NI’s fastest-growing supermarket’ with latest Kantar figures confirming 12.2% year-on-year sales growth in 2021.
“Our sustained growth is testament to the continued development of our range and the addition of more than 300 products to our everyday offering in store over the past year.
“Local community and citizenship are hugely important to Lidl Northern Ireland and we’re proud to say that Lidl Northern Ireland spends £290m each year sourcing quality products from Northern Irish suppliers and we will continue to invest in our network of more than 50 local suppliers.”
For the full interview with Gordon, click HERE.