Lidl Expanding To New York With Best Market Purchase

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In the early going, despite being extremely well capitalized, Lidl has been challenged to make a significant impression with U.S. consumers, who have sometimes found their shopping experiences to be less than rewarding, despite low prices. That it chose to build many of its locations near existing Aldi and Walmart stores hasn’t made the road less bumpy, either.

Best Market (Best Yet Market until 2012) began as a retail produce business by the Raitses family. The company opened its first Produce Warehouse in Lake Ronkonkoma, NY in 1994. In 2002, it changed its name to Best Yet Markets. Focusing primarily on the Long Island area, Best Market also began expanding west to New York City where it now operates a store in Manhattan (Harlem) and one in Queens (Astoria). It opened its Holmdel, NJ store in 2012 and its Newington, CT unit a year later.

The privately-held company took advantage of A&P’s bankruptcy and subsequent store auctions to acquire 10 stores – Pathmarks in East Rockaway, Islip, Shirley, West Babylon; Waldbaums in Commack, Merrick, Westhampton Beach, Great Neck, Selden; and a former Food Emporium on Greenwich Street in the Tribeca section of Manhattan which closed late last month.

In April 2018, Best Market opened a former King Kullen supermarket in Syosset, NY.

That Best Market has been sold is not a surprise to many trade observers. Multiple sources told us that the company was reportedly suffering from a significant cash flow shortage and had issued a prospectus several months ago exploring the sale option.

Some of those sources said, that despite the stores doing relatively well, Best Market’s financial challenges stemmed from its 2016 acquisition of the former Entenmann’s bakery which the company utilized as a secondary warehouse (C&S is the retailer’s primary grocery supplier) and food production facility. One source described the problems as being related to logistical efficiency.

Although some of Best Market’s stores are larger than the typical Lidl footprint (36,000 square feet with about 21,000 square feet of selling space), adapting the stores to fit Lidl’s prototype shouldn’t be a problem.

Citi Bank served as a financial advisor to Lidl and PJ Solomon served as a financial advisor to Best Market.