Before Aldi and Lidl Netto take on supermarket giants Tesco and Asda


Before Aldi and Lidl came to the UK, it was Netto that rivaled the supermarket giants with cheap prices and eclectic center aisles.

While Aldi also opened its first store in 1990 alongside Netto, and Lidl a few years later in 1994, Netto was the first to really take off. And for a while it looked like it might be a real contender to compete with German supermarkets.

Netto opened in Leeds in December 1990 and was part of the Danish company Salling Group which operates other supermarkets in Denmark. Many remember the yellow and black shopping bags of the time, which many also remember trying to hide from their peers.

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Netto first made his mark in central England before moving to southern England and Wales and of course here on Merseyside. Although not known as the coolest place to do the family store and quickly becoming a playground insult if you were seen with Netto branded food, Netto soon had 193 stores in across the UK.

Aldi and Lidl had also experienced a trade boom after the 2008 credit crunch as people desperately tried to cut their shopping bills and switch to cheaper stores and budget supermarket shopping became the standard. But Netto did not experience the same customer surge that its German rivals had seen and was forced to sell its stores to Asda in 2010the giant then owned by Wal-Mart trying to close the gap with market leader Tesco.

Following an investigation by the Office for Fair Trading, Asda had to abandon some stores as it was warned this could lead to a substantial reduction in local competition, Asda eventually took over 165 of the stores, including 27 from Morrisons, two demolished and 20 from Ugo – a new chain of convenience stores owned by the Haldanes group, and one of which was in Wavertree, but Ugo went into administration in June 2011 and 18 of the stores were sold to Poundstretcher.

But it wasn’t Netto’s last. In 2014, the Salling Group teamed up with Sainsbury’s and opened 13 stores across the north of England, including one in Ormskirk and one in Ellesmere Port.

The Ormskirk store in Hattersley Center opened in November 2014. Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe said at the time: “Netto is a great retailer with talented leaders and colleagues and we have learned a lot on the discount grocery retail market of this test company.

“Since we first considered the trial nearly three years ago, the grocery industry has evolved significantly and we launched our strategy 18 months ago to address these changing dynamics. In this context, as expected, we conducted a detailed review with DSG on the future of Netto. To be successful in the long term, Netto should grow at a pace and scale, requiring significant investment and rapid expansion. of the housing stock in a difficult real estate market.

The venture failed and all stores closed permanently in the UK in August 2016. But that wasn’t the end of Netto’s story elsewhere. The discount supermarket still operates in Denmark, Germany and Poland with over 1,400 stores.


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