Lidl takes Coca-Cola off shelves in price war

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 21 Jan, 2014 Updated Tue 21 Jan 2014 16:01 CEST
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Discount supermarket Lidl began taking all Coca-Cola products off its shelves in Germany on Monday, as a bitter price war between competing discount chains intensified.

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Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta and other popular soft drinks made by the brand were on Monday already unavailable in some branches of Lidl, Die Welt newspaper reported.

“We were unable to agree on a marketing strategy with Lidl,” a spokesman from Coca-Cola Deutschland confirmed, meaning it will lose business in all 3,300 of Lidl's German stores.

Before removing the brand from their shelves, Lidl slashed the price of a 1.25 litre bottle of Coke by 10 cents. Coca-Cola then refused to drop its wholesale price when pressured by Lidl, which was struggling to make profit on the drinks in face of competition from rival discount chains.

A Lidl spokesman told Die Welt that they did not comment on business with their suppliers, but cutting a big name brand like Coke is, media reports said, an unusually radical step for the chain.

Trade expert Matthias Queck from market information service Planet Retail said on Tuesday that Lidl's move “is probably a power play.” He added that it Coca-Cola products could well be back on the shelves in a few weeks.

Not stocking the brand and turning to its own, no-name products, is the latest step from Lidl in a vicious price war with other discount supermarkets like Aldi – which recently slashed prices of eggs, instant coffee and muesli.

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